Iranian regime closed schools around Tehran Sunday, December 17, and canceled sporting events as thick smog blanketed the capital despite curbs on road traffic and industrial activity.
The authorities shuttered primary schools in the province of Tehran, home to 14 million residents, before ordering them to remain closed on Monday, December 18. All sports competitions set for Monday were also canceled, as restrictions on road traffic were stepped up, including a ban on trucks.
Airborne concentration of fine particles (PM2.5) hit 185 microgrammes per cubic meter in the south of Tehran and 174 in its center on Sunday morning, local authorities said. That is far above the World Health Organization recommended the maximum of 25 microgrammes per m3 over a 24-hour period.
The microscopic particles lodge deep in the lungs and are harmful to human health.
“Tehran is suffocating (but) hundreds of thousands of cars are built each year,” said Hossein, a man in his sixties who did not give his surname.
“They’re building in the mountains, they’re destroying our forests. We don’t want any more oil, we don’t want any more petrol,” he added.
Every year, Iran’s sprawling capital suffers some of the worst pollutions in the world when cool temperatures cause an effect known as “temperature inversion”.
The phenomenon creates a layer of warm air above the city that traps pollution from its more than eight million cars and motorbikes.