First Published: 2017-12-17

Iran's schools suffocate in smog
Choking levels of air pollution saw primary schools shut across country as smog levels go far above WHO recommended maximum.
Middle East Online

Airborne concentration of fine particles (PM2.5) hit 185 microgrammes per cubic metre in the south of Tehran

TEHRAN- Iran shut primary schools in the capital and other parts of the country on Sunday due to choking levels of air pollution.

Local authorities late Saturday announced the closure of all primary schools in the province of Tehran, which is home to 14 million residents, except in two towns.

A blanket of smog has covered neighbourhoods in the capital in the past few days.

Airborne concentration of fine particles (PM2.5) hit 185 microgrammes per cubic metre in the south of Tehran and 174 in its centre on Sunday morning, local authorities said.

That is far above the World Health Organization recommended maximum of 25 microgrammes per m3 over a 24-hour period.

Authorities also ordered mines and cement factories in Tehran province to close and reinforced regular traffic restrictions in the capital's centre.

They called on the elderly, children, pregnant women and people with heart problems to stay indoors.

In the northwestern cities of Tabriz and Urmia, schools remained closed for the second day straight on Sunday, official news agency IRNA said.

Every year, Tehran suffers some of the worst pollution 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 more than eight million cars and motorbikes.

In 2014, almost 400 people were hospitalised with heart and respiratory problems caused by pollution in Tehran. Nearly 1,500 others required treatment.

The health ministry estimated that pollution in 2012 contributed to the premature deaths of 4,500 people in Tehran and about 80,000 across the country.

 

Palestinian leaders call for suspension of recognition of Israel

UAE to lodge complaint over Qatar flight 'interception'

US-purchased cranes arrive at Yemen rebel-held port

Minorities in north Iraq look to post-jihadist future

Bitcoin appeal beats ban and warnings in Jordan

Israeli police find missing Briton’s belongings in desert

Algeria gas plant workers mark five years since jihadist siege

UN says over 5000 children killed or injured in Yemen war

European leaders’ response to Iran protests raises questions

Erdogan to visit Pope Francis next month

Iran slams US-backed 'border security force' in Syria

Palestinian suspension of Israel recognition unlikely for now

Jordan to hike fuel, bread prices

Yemen rebels free journalist detained since August

Palestinian reconciliation brings no change for Gazans

Sudan police use force, tear gas against protesters

Both hardliners and moderates have failed Iranians

Erdogan says Turkish military op in Syria's Afrin to be supported by rebels

UN says 22 million Yemenis in need of aid

Morocco dirham stable after flexible FX system introduction

10 killed in clashes at Tripoli airport

Sisi vows to protect Egypt's water supply

Palestinians meet to respond to Trump's 'slap of the century'

Hezbollah’s popular support jeopardises Lebanon’s alliances

European judicial opinion could deal fresh blow to Brussels-Rabat ties

Turkey plane plunged off runway due to ‘engine surge’

Iran oil tanker's sinking off China raises environmental fears

Protests held on Tunisia uprising anniversary

Double suicide bombing shakes in Baghdad

Iranian oil tanker sinks engulfed in flames

Will Abdullah Gul challenge Erdogan?

Hamas official wounded in car bomb attack in Lebanon

Iraqi PM Abadi announces candidacy for May elections

Netanyahu makes first visit to India by Israeli PM in 15 years

Egypt looks ahead to presidential election but little doubt about outcome

Israel destroys Hamas tunnel from Gaza

Economic woes fuel unrest, ratchet up political tensions across MENA region

Tunisia announces social reforms in response to unrest

Seven years since Tunisian revolution, hope turns to despair

Glimmers of hope for Iran economy despite uncertainty

China rescuers recover bodies, black box from Iranian tanker

Tunisia president to meet unions, employers amid protests

Hamas to skip Palestinian meeting over Jerusalem

UN report on Yemen finds Iran in violation of arms embargo

Trump issues stay of execution for Iran deal, but warns 'last time'