A view from Tehran

Schools, Offices Go Online As Iran Faces Air Pollution Crisis

Wednesday, 11/15/2023

The Iranian Meteorological Organization has warned of worsening air pollution in the nation's five major cities with several schools moving to online learning.

The air quality in five cities, Tehran, Karaj, Arak, and Esfahan (Isfahan), has been put in place until Thursday, signifying a level of air quality deemed "very unhealthy."

Mehdi Pirhadi, a member of parliament, expressed concern about the deterioration of air quality and the rising concentration of pollutants. He highlighted that the number of polluted days in major cities this year has seen a notable increase compared to the previous year.

Pirhadi underscored the critical issues hindering effective response measures, including the lack of financial resources, inadequate supervision, and the low priority given to air pollution by officials. He emphasized that “a budget ranging from one to two billion dollars annually over a four-year plan is essential to address the air pollution crisis, but unfortunately, this matter is not receiving sufficient attention in budget planning.”

In response to the accumulating pollutants, the Emergency Air Pollution Situation Committee of Tehran has mandated that one-third of employees across all executive bodies will work remotely on Thursday.

In Isfahan, the Emergency Air Pollution Committee decided to extend school closures for the third day this week. The air quality in Isfahan reached the red level on Tuesday, prompting the committee to declare the closure of higher education centers too.

The escalating air pollution issue in Iran is further exacerbated by the country's heavy reliance on fossil fuels. Experts say pollution sources have surged in recent years, with a staggering 94% of the country's energy being derived from fossil fuels.

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