General

Iran - Ozone, the Coronavirus’s New Partner

“This year, Tehran has been polluted with ozone for 16 days which has caused lung congestion in citizens”

The sky in Iran’s capital Tehran is blue, but the number of days that ozone has affected people’s lungs, compared to last year, is much more. On 11 July after Tehran’s air experienced three days of air pollution because of the increased concentration of ozone pollutants, it stood for more than 14 hours in good condition, and the average air quality of Tehran was 75.

The statistics show that Tehran had 16 unhealthy days this month. This number of unhealthy days is because of the density of ozone.

This pollutant, according to the Tehran Air Quality Control Company’s report, is the factor of many health problems, including chest pain, cough, sore throat, and lung congestion. The Ozone near the earth’s surface can make the lungs more susceptible to infection and cause the inflammation of the lungs.

Last year the situation was better. The statistics of the first 107 days of 2019 show that Tehran’s air had 15 days of pollution with the ozone, and in between these days, just one day the indicator exceeded 150 units. But in the first three and a half months of the current Iranian year (beginning in March), there have been 16 days of pollution with the ozone. For comparison, in 2018, 16 days of pollution with ozone were registered for the entire year.

Hossein Shahidzadeh, CEO of Tehran Air Quality Control Company, said they have expected this year to have healthier weather because of the quarantine and the vacation days of the Nowruz (Persian New Year). But the days of clean air were much less compared to last year.

He said that most of the air pollution is because of the industry located in the south of Tehran and sometimes even the air pollution of Karaj, which is less 20 km far from Tehran, is influencing the air quality of Tehran because parts of this pollution are moved directly by the wind to Tehran.

In the first published list by the Tehran Air Quality Control Company, the cars share in this pollution was 75 percent which decreased to 61 percent, and the share of the residential resources has increased to 39 percent.

The risk of ozone is not less than that of suspended particles. The people’s sensitivity to the ozone is much less than the suspended particles because the suspension of particles is more visible, and everyone who looks around can see them.

The density of ozone in free days was more. The reason is that the ozone is more complicated than particles, and quarantine, holidays and free days cannot help that its density decrease, and it takes a long time to control it.

One of the sources of ozone pollution is the “Nitrogen dioxide” known as NOx which increases the ozone density. NOx is a fuel combustion agent, and most of it comes from automobiles and polluting industries, so perhaps, this pollutant can be seen more on the outskirts of the city and in areas where pollution is high, but in the end, this gas very easy reaches the main city.

In Tehran, 35 percent of NOx pollutants are produced by mobile sources and 32 percent by power plants. Many parameters are working together to increase the ozone adding to the ozone manufacturers, air temperature, the amount of sunlight, and the wind speed are helping to increase.

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The ways of solving this problem are simple, while most of this pollution is caused by the worn-out vehicles in the city and the non-standard industry of Iran. They should be replaced or reconstructed. But like in many other cases, about which Iran’s government cares very little, this must be added to the list, while the government has other priorities and concerns which surely is not the health of Iran’s people.

In a situation were the coronavirus is overrunning Iran, factors like the increase of ozone can increase the infection’s rate and of course the deaths.

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