Air pollution has been a major issue in Tehran, the capital of Iran. Three articles have been summarized, which evaluates the causes of air pollution in Tehran, the health concerns, and explaining short-term and long-term remedies that the government of Iran has suggested.
Tehran has been listed as the top-ten air-polluted cities in the world in World Health Organization Report (Davidson, 2013). The population of Tehran is reaching 11 million, almost one sixth of the country’s population. Almost every single person above eighteen years of age owns a car. For many years, the air pollution was caused by the use of old vehicles, which counts for 70 to 80 percent of city’s air pollution, according to Yousef Rashidi, director of Tehran’s Air Quality Monitoring Services (Davidson, 2013). Now, almost all the old cars have been replaced with new ones and yet, the pollution is still there. After the sanctions on imports of refined gasoline, Iran is facing a shortage on fuel and in order to make up for the loss of imports, Iran is now producing low-quality gasoline, which contains Lead, Sulfur Dioxide, and Benzene (Erdbrink, 2013). The government denied that the pollution problem has anything to do with the locally produced gasoline. Instead, blaming the vehicle’s combustion system for the pollution (Davidson, 2013).
Tehran has reached its peak on pollution crisis. Last year, 4,460 people have died in the first nine months of last year due to the poor air quality. According to Aqajani, Iran’s health minister advisor, the number of patients who have visited the city’s hospitals with heart problems has increased by 30 percent (Davidson, 2013). Most patients who had checked in had severe headaches, irritation to throat and eyes, which are considered to be the short-term effects of the pollution. The long-term effects include chronic respiratory diseases, lung cancer, heart diseases, or even death. The elements that are found in hazardous toxic air pollution include Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide, and Particular matters, which are a serious treat to human health (Khalilzadeh and others, 2009). These particles are deadly gases that can’t be seen or smelled or tasted, but residents are breathing them everyday.
There are short-term solutions that the government of Iran has suggested in order to help ease the chronic pollution in Tehran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has planned to move civil servants from Tehran to other cities to reduce overpopulation in the capital. In 2010, the governor of Tehran ordered crop-dusters to dump water on the smog to clear the pollution. However, this year the pollution is much worse than 2010 and experts do not think that this technique would make much difference (Erdbrink, 2013).
In the meanwhile, the government has set strict traffic regulations in Tehran. In order to reduce the number of cars on the street on a daily basis, the Traffic Police Officer controls the last digit of vehicle’s license plates. For instances, on odd days only odd number plates can drive on the streets (Asgari, 2013). But these are short-term solutions that aren’t helpful in the long run.
There have also been plans for placing air purifiers in the city, but experts say that it wouldn’t be realistic since they don’t work in an open space. Another technique that California (another polluted city in the world) is already using to reduce the hazardous air pollution, is a Catalytic Converter device. This device is a vehicle emission control device, which converts toxic byproducts to less toxic substances. So far this device seems to be the most suitable solution for Tehran’s pollution problems. Even though this technique might be cost-effective, but it must be mandatory in order save lives in Tehran.
Asgari, Mohsen. “Iran Pollution Worsens as Thousands Die.” BBC News. BBC, 01
July 2013. Web. 8 Feb. 2013.
Davidson, Kavitha. “Tehran Pollution Crisis 2012: Thousands Dead In Iran’s Capital As Government Warns To Stay Indoors.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 08 Jan. 2013. Web. 8 Feb. 2013.
Erdbrink, Thomas. “Annual Buildup of Air Pollution Chokes Tehran.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 Jan. 2013. Web. 8 Feb. 2013.