President Sends Officials to Southwest Iran to Address Dust Pollution
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati and Head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization (IEPO) Isa Kalantari to pay a visit to the southwestern parts of the country to address heavy dust pollution in the areas.
During a special meeting held in Tehran on Monday to examine the situation of air pollution caused by fine particles in southwestern Iran, Rouhani was briefed about the latest measures adopted to tackle the problem.
He further ordered Hojjati and Kalantari to visit the areas to monitor the situation and follow up on the administration’s plans to address the dust pollution.
Kindergartens, schools and some organizations in many cities in the southwestern province of Khuzestan have been closed down in recent days because of the heavy dust pollution.
According to the Environmental Organization of Khuzestan Province, the air pollution index in Ahvaz, the provincial capital, has breached the “hazardous” level upper limit of 500, at which it stops measuring levels of PM2.5, with 53 times worse than the moderate level.
A hazardous level is an alert in which everyone may experience ill effects and are advised to stay indoors.
Iranian residents in the western and southwestern provinces that border Iraq face a growing trend in the influx of fine particles, which are generated by drought-hit marshlands in neighboring countries.
The disruptive dust storms have pushed pollution in those border areas to alarming levels in recent years, raising health concerns.
The particles, carried by winds, can penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing serious diseases such as lung cancer, asthma and heart problems.