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EghtesadOnline: Despite the claims of officials about the implementation of Low Emission Zone, the scheme has not yet entered the phase where it can alleviate Tehran's air pollution crisis.

It has now been confirmed that the scheme that went into effect in October was not, in fact, an LEZ scheme.

"It's really the 'technical inspection' scheme," said Navvab Hosseini-Manesh, director of Tehran's Vehicle Technical Inspection Headquarters, ISNA reported. 

Whereas the basic goal of the LEZ scheme is to ban highly polluting vehicles from entering the most polluted parts of the city, the current plan only prohibits the entry of cars lacking technical inspection stickers, according to Financial Tribune.

"The current phase is only meant to encourage car owners to refer to inspection centers so as to prepare the ground for the launch of the real LEZ scheme," said.  

According to the official, the LEZ scheme, which involves categorizing cars based on their production year and emissions level, and banning polluting vehicles from entering certain districts, will most likely be implemented next year.

Hosseini-Manesh added that the measure should have been implemented years ago but it was delayed due to lack of infrastructure.  

"Thanks to the coordination among the police, technical inspection stations and Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, as well as the centralized vehicles' database, it is possible to monitor cars that fail to obtain an inspection license," he said. Up to 350 surveillance cameras within the odd-even zone (where cars are allowed to enter on alternate days depending on the odd and even number of the number plate) have been connected to the vehicles database and are able to detect the cars that lack the sticker.

Such cars will be automatically fined 500,000 rials ($12.5) upon entering the zone every 24 hours.

Up to 1,300 cameras across Tehran are to be equipped with the technical inspection violation code.

Thanks to the stringent rules, the number of cars that have passed the test has reached its highest since 2010, when 1.1 million vehicles underwent inspection. This year, up to 1.6 million cars registered in Tehran have so far undergone the checkup, but some 300,000 more vehicles are yet to be inspected.

Hosseini-Manesh hoped that with the approval of the Clean Air Bill in Majlis (which has not yet happened), the validity of technical inspection stickers will be reduced from five years to two years to help reduce the contribution of old vehicles to air pollution.

air pollution LEZ Low Emission Zone Tehran air pollution