Tehran Air Pollution Reduction Plan Set for Weekend Launch: Better Late Than Never
EghtesadOnline: Despite extended delays, a plan introduced by Tehran Municipality to help curb air pollution will take effect on November 24. The plan bans dilapidated vehicles from the sprawling capital to improve air quality and make life a bit bearable for the people.
The Air Pollution Reduction (APR) plan was initially announced in summer stating that clunkers and dilapidated vehicles will be banished from Tehran and those who violate the rules will be fined 500,000 rials ($3.9). The scheme was to be implemented on Oct. 24, news website Asr-e Khodro reported.
The head of Department of Environment, Isa Kalantari, called on Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli recently urging him to accelerate whatever is necessary to implement the plan. The APR scheme is now expected to be enforced on Nov. 24, Mohsen Pour-Seyed Aqaei, TM's managing director for Transportation and Traffic Organization said.
Aqaei said the number of traffic surveillance cameras on the main roadways has increased from 300 to over 1,240 creating an “efficient monitoring network” together with field surveillance by the Traffic Police, according to Financial Tribune.
“Initially we will focus on barring dilapidated commercial vehicles in Tehran because they alone are responsible for over 50% of the toxic emissions released in the city” that is exploding as it has much more than its share of gas-guzzlers.
He also notes that despite the delays, those disregarding the rules of mandatory vehicle technical inspection have been identified and their number plates have been recorded since Oct. 24.
The APR is part of a phased scheme introduced in 2015 in line with the Clean Air Act. The first phase envisioned for curbing air pollution in Tehran took effect in October 2016, involving control of technical inspection papers in restricted traffic zones -- an 80sqm area in central parts of the capital in which only public transport and cars with special permits are allowed to enter during working hours.
The second phase calls for covering a much wider area and bans cars, buses, and heavy vehicles lacking technical inspection from entering the overcrowded metropolis.
However, the implementation of the crucial scheme has been postponed by Traffic Police since late October, raising concern among environmentalists and keen social pundits.
The Traffic Police insisted on the delays claiming that thousands of vehicles and motorists lack the technical inspection papers and they should be given more time to get their vehicles checked and fixed if necessary.
Police said in recent weeks car owners rushed to the inspection centers to get their vehicles tested causing unusually large queues.
Air pollution and traffic congestion have long been a pain for residents of the sprawling capital. The APR tries to curb air pollution which annually claims thousands of innocent lives in Tehran.
According to a report released by the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization, during the fiscal that ended in March, some 12,000 air pollution-related deaths were recorded in Iran with one-third of the fatalities in the capital.