EghtesadOnline: The Interior Ministry has called for a national ban on dilapidated cars that contribute to the worsening air pollution in Iranian cities.
The ministry has asked Iran Traffic Police to devise a plan for extending the Air Pollution Reduction Scheme underway in the capital to the whole country.
Almost all Iranian major cities are struggling with air pollution. Cars and motorbikes are usually blamed for worsening the situation.
As per the scheme, initiated by the Tehran Municipality in November 2018, old cars not meeting minimum emission standards have been banned in the sprawling city and violators are subject to fines on a daily basis, according to Financial Tribune.
Marziyeh Hesari, the head of Transportation Office at the Interior Ministry’s Urban and Rural Municipalities Organization, told ISNA that thanks to the preemptive efforts of Tehran’s Traffic Police, the scheme has so far been successful in the capital.
“The scheme requires all two- and four-wheelers in Tehran to undergo automotive inspections and receive technical conformity cards that show a vehicle’s compliance with automotive emission standards. Therefore, the nationwide ban can be effective in improving air quality throughout Iran, especially in major cities, which for long have been struggling with air pollution,” she said.
“We do not expect the move to deliver quick results, as environment-friendly measures show their positive effects in the long run.”
Hesari noted that APRS will gradually curb the inversion phenomenon that strikes megacities in the second half of the year.
Every year, inversion occurs when cold air underpins warm air at higher altitudes, leading to the entrapment of air pollutants that cause heavy smog.
The rise in air pollution caused by temperature inversion, mostly during autumn when schools reopen after the summer holidays, has repeatedly pushed Air Quality Index above dangerous levels, causing emergency warnings and school closures in Iranian megacities.
Last year, however, no such emergency conditions came up in the capital. Experts believe that besides the helping hand of Mother Nature, the positive role of APRS, which was launched last autumn, should not be underestimated.
“The scheme gradually eliminates dilapidated vehicles from cities, causing air quality to improve in the long run,” Hesari said.
APRS in Detail
Ratified in August 2015 by the High Council for the Coordination of Urban Traffic, the Air Pollution Reduction Scheme was aimed at banning highly polluting vehicles from entering Tehran in three phases.
The first phase, which took effect in October 2016 under the Low Emission Zone Scheme, only involved controlling the vehicles’ technical inspections in a restricted zone.
The restricted zone was an 80-square-kilometer area in central parts of the capital, in which only public transportation vehicles and some other cars with special permits are permitted to enter during working hours.
Seemingly, the first phase was only meant to encourage car owners to refer to the inspection centers to prepare the ground for the second foray against air polluters.
The second phase, which was launched in November 2018 and is currently underway, moved beyond the restricted zone and covered the entire city.
The plan compels owners of highly polluting cars to choose an alternative mode of transport, or decide to upgrade or dump their vehicles.
Urban managers had planned to extend the scheme to the entire Tehran Province in the third and final phase.