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Iran: Tehran, The World’s Most Air-Polluted City

Clean air has become a dream for most people in Tehran. According to the Air Quality Control Company, the metropolis of Tehran had only three days of clean air last month.
Clean air has become a dream for most people in Tehran. According to the Air Quality Control Company, the metropolis of Tehran had only three days of clean air last month.

In recent days, the air pollution in the Iranian capital Tehran has become a significant problem for its residents. According to the IQ Air organization, Tehran was registered as the most air-polluted city globally on April 8 and 9, 2022, with reports that there are 105.9µg/m³ of PM2.5, 167.2µg/m³ of PM10, 60µg/m³, 238µg/m³ of NO2, 29.3µg/m³ of SO2, and 2267.1µg/m³ of CO in Tehran’s sky.

Air pollution is a long-standing problem in Iran. Based on official stats, over 40,000 people lose their lives due to air pollution in Iran’s large cities every year, and Tehran has the lion’s share of victims. In many cases, the pollution is so bad that officials are forced to shut down schools, government offices, and other crowded sites.

The question remains as to what the reason for particulate matter in Tehran’s sky is, while the city is not located in a desert area and its suburban districts are mountains. Where is its source?

Tehran’s Air Pollution Is Triple the Levels That Are Closing Schools and Universities

The air pollution in Tehran is currently triple the standard level that officials use to denote whether they should be shutting down schools and universities. Officials claim there are two domestic and foreign elements for such disastrous conditions. Nevertheless, observers believe that the government is trying to evade responsibility.

Foreigners blamed for Tehran’s Air Pollution

Tehran lays the blame for hazardous air pollution on their neighboring country to the northwest, Turkey. Iranian officials have claimed that “One of the main reasons for large particulate matter in Tehran’s sky is Turkey’s dam-building projects.”

The Iranian government has also claimed that eliminating plant coverage in western and southwestern neighboring countries—Iraq and Kuwait—has severely affected Tehran’s climate.

The Domestic Element for Tehran’s Air Pollution

Regarding the domestic element, officials have stated that the drying of marshes in Hour al-Azim and Shadegan, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, is the primary reason for Tehran’s rampant air pollution.

Notably, the authorities avoided recruiting modern technology to extract oil from water in the past decade, preferring to dry the marshes instead. The regime chose to recruit Chinese oil companies in these areas instead of Japanese companies, who already owned technology for underwater drilling.

Industrial Soil Undermines Tehran’s Air Condition in Silence

Besides the parameters mentioned above, experts have named the creation of industrial soil as a primary element of the capital’s air pollution.

In an interview with the Farhikhtegan daily on April 11, Hamid Reza Qomi, a physic professor and a member of Beheshti University’s Scientific Board, said, “An asphalt-producing factory produces 10 tons of industrial soil every day. The pollution will contaminate Tehran even if such factories are 100 kilometers away from the city.”

Don’t Exaggerate the Issue!

Despite the valid explanation for the rampant air pollution in Tehran, beneficiaries of the oil companies have claimed that the produced industrial soil is too limited and impossible to move through the air to cause pollution, telling others: “Don’t exaggerate the issue.”

Indeed, the beneficiaries will avoid providing solutions, which, in turn, severely prompts skepticism. Qomi blamed these people for evading their responsibility instead of combating such a devastating crisis. He said, “Those, who invoke such a theory, do not have any perception about air pollution by industrial soil.”

120 Tons of Soil Fly Above the Capital

Qomi added, “We always have 120 tons of soil above our heads, hovering in the air and causing pollution. This amount of soil is due to asphalt factories’ activities. There are around 50 asphalt factories in the suburb of Tehran and Karaj: each one that daily produces two to three tons of industrial soil on average. Their total production is a huge number, which undeniably affects Tehran’s air pollution.”

He suggested using fog generators inside the asphalt factories and reusing the soil in the pottery industry. However, the indifference of regime officials has led to more respiratory disorders for Iranian citizens, particularly for the elderly and those who suffer from underlying diseases.

On April 11, FarsNews24 quoted Mojtaba Khaledi, the Emergency Organization Spokesperson, as saying, “Referrals of heart and respiratory patients to medical centers due to air pollution have increased by 23 percent compared to the same period last year. Some 24,738 heart and respiratory patients sought medical centers in two days.”

Observers have said that the officials’ ambivalence toward addressing Tehran’s air pollution will further lead to the loss of many more people, resulting in a human catastrophe. In response, the regime has resorted to supernatural powers, rather than fixing its horrible approach toward Iran’s natural resources. “Pray for rain to remove pollution,” authorities say while they have previously pushed the country to an unprecedented drought.