The air pollution problems facing Iran, in particular those facing the country’s populous capital Tehran, seem to be growing rapidly based on recent events.
As the result of dangerous levels of air pollution, schools in Tehran and in many other large cities throughout the country as well, were closed last week state media reported at the time.
Accompanying those actions, authorities in the country also instituted a scheme to halve the number of cars allowed on the road on any particular day until air pollution levels dropped — depending upon license plate number, you were only allowed to drive on alternating days.
In addition, cement factories and mines were also temporarily shut down.
So what to make of this? You might be asking yourself why I’m reporting on such a matter on a site named CleanTechnica, but I think it’s important to draw attention to the growing air pollution problems around the world — as such problems are largely the result of widespread use of personal internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, which do a very poor job combusting the fuels they run on and so release high levels of pollutants.
Tehran, for instance, is home to over 8 million ICE cars and motorbikes — correlating to a population of around 14 million people. In other words, despite the potential problems of local geography (Tehran is located at the foot of very large mountains) the primary reason that air pollution problems in the region are as bad as they are is because of the scale of petrol/gasoline and diesel vehicles.
That’s a problem that could potentially be solved…and that, more importantly, could have been avoided (subsidizing fuels amounts in practice to subsidizing inefficient personal vehicle use).
Reuters provides a bit more background: “Residents shared on social media pictures of Tehran covered with a blanket of smog…Iran’s Health Ministry has called on the elderly, children, and people with heart problems to stay at home. Iranian media reported that a growing number of people with severe breathing difficulties have been hospitalized.”
“Iranian media gave no specific reason for the increased pollution, which comes after a similar incidence in 2014 that left some 400 people needing hospital treatment.”
Such events will become more and more common until effective action is taken. Or rather, perhaps, until refined fuels become too expensive for the current boom in personal vehicle use to continue.
For more on Iran’s situation, see: Norwegian Firm Signs Deal For 2 Gigawatt Solar Project In Iran; Iran Approves $3 Billion Worth Of Foreign Renewable Energy Investments; and LG & Iran To Cooperate On Electric Vehicles … Probably.