Non-Standard Cars, Gasoline, Refineries Blamed For Soaring Air Pollution In Iran

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Every year, at the end of December, air quality deteriorates in Tehran and other Iranian cities, forcing authorities to order schools and other services to close.

That happened this week as school classes were held in remote areas in Tehran, the southern city of Ahwaz, Alborz, Isfahan and Arak provinces.

Last week, residents of Tehran and other major cities were advised not to leave their homes due to severe air pollution. It is reported that air pollution causes respiratory and other diseases, leading to 40,000 premature deaths nationwide each year.

Over the years, numerous non-standard vehicles and The gasoline used was blamed for a spike in air pollution. More recently, some experts have pointed the finger at mazut, a low-grade heavy oil that is burned in power plants. other Factories, especially during the winter.

the usual suspect

Climatologist Nasser Kalami told Iranwire that cars in Iran have been in use for a long time, well past their retirement age, resulting in many polluted vehicles in circulation. But he says new cars can also be very polluting.

“first group [of polluting vehicles] That is, the amount of pollution they produce is comparable to used cars. The second group could have been built according to the standard, but due to the lack of spare parts, it will become a contaminant after a while. ”

Another problem is the low quality gasoline used in these cars. Karami said the sulfur levels in gasoline sold in Iran are high and are increasing year by year as the country’s refineries are worn out.

Three years ago, Shina Ansari, director general of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Monitoring Service, reported sulfur levels in 84% of samples collected at petrol stations around Iran were about five times normal levels. Did.

Mazut, used as fuel in industry

Mazut is another major factor contributing to rising sulfur and nitrogen dioxide levels in Iran’s metropolitan areas.

Mazut is a by-product of petroleum refining. When used in power plants and other industries, it produces far more pollution than natural gas.

Agroecology expert Mansour Sohrabi says Iran’s refineries are outdated and as a result produce large amounts of mazut.

The amount of mazut produced in most Iranian refineries reaches 50%, while in most countries the figure is 5-10%.

According to Sohrabi, this low-quality Iranian mazut cannot be sold on the global market and is very difficult to store, so it must be consumed domestically.

Officials of Isfahan, Khuzestan and Markazi We have recently confirmed that power plants in these states are burning mazut during the winter due to lack of natural gas. Environmental Protection Agency officials deny that mazut is being used in Tehran.

Provincial Supreme Council chairman Parviz Sarvari said the government faced tough choices. Either shut down factories to protect the atmosphere, or use the pollutants to produce electricity.

Sulfur Poison Breath

Energy expert Farid Safari says Iran’s industrial sector is burning Mazut without removing, or at least reducing, sulfur to cut costs.

Sulfur dioxide, along with nitrogen dioxide, has both health and environmental impacts. Sulfur dioxide causes acid rain and pollutes soil and groundwater.

Mehdi Pirhadi, head of health, environment and local government services at Tehran City Council, recently reported that more than 4,000 premature deaths occur each year in Tehran due to air pollution.

“Air pollution is a difficult problem that people and authorities cannot solve and unfortunately it is getting worse every day,” he added.

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution kills about 7 million people worldwide each year. About 90% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

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