For a second time in one month Iranian officials will close public schools, universities and government offices in Teheran on Saturday. The reason, as announced by Teheran’s governor Morteza Tamadon on Thursday, is the extremely high levels of pollutants in the atmosphere.
The citizens of the Iranian capital are also advised to travel within the city only if very necessary. The only services, which will operate, are the emergency and health.
The drastic decision was taken after smog has persisted over the city for the past three days. The Mahr news agency reported that although closing facilities is not the solution, it is one of the best actions that could be taken immediately. It is expected that the high levels of pollution would last for at least another three days.
On 3rd of December, similar measure was taken, when the health minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi advised citizens to even leave Teheran.
Traffic restrictions will also take place, according to vice president for environment protection- Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh. Tamadon also decided to suspend all sports activities until early next week.
The heavy traffic in the city is the main reason for the disaster. In addition, the two mountains surrounding Teheran act as a trap for fumes, while the use of lower grade domestically produced petrol due to Western sanctions on fuel import, only make the problem worse.
In their attempt to tackle the problem with urban pollution, governmental officials have tried to encourage the use of public transport by extending the metro and setting up bus lanes, however the influence of the growing number of old and inefficient cars is much stronger.