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EghtesadOnline: The Iran Meteorological Organization warned that air quality was worsening in the capital Tehran and the nearby metropolitan city of Karaj as an emergency task force convened to take appropriate measures aimed at tackling the toxic smog.

Air Quality Index readings put both cities in the red zone, “unhealthy” for all groups, for the fourth consecutive day, IRNA reported.

During Saturday’s emergency meeting of the air pollution task force, it was decided that all schools and universities were to switch to online learning for the next three days.

Last week, schools had held classes online and university classes had also moved to the virtual space on the final days of the week when pollution spiked.

On Saturday, concentrations of dangerous PM2.5 particles rose to an average of 172 and 159 micrograms per cubic meter in Karaj and Tehran, respectively. The AQI value suggests that everyone should limit outdoor exertion to keep safe.

The deadly particulate matter PM 2.5 has been linked to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as the tiny particles can enter the bloodstream through the lungs.

In addition to school and university closures, the air pollution task force has taken other steps to curb smog, a senior official with Tehran’s governor-general office, Abed Maleki, stated.

“Sand factories must suspend activities until Wednesday,” Maleki said. He noted that the Tehran Municipality was banned from selling permits to private vehicles to enter the city center, a restricted traffic zone.

Citizens were advised to stay home as much as possible and to wear pollution-filtering N95 masks if it was necessary to go outside.

Trucks are not allowed to cross city premises until Wednesday as they emit high levels of PM2.5 particles into the atmosphere.

Major cities located in various parts of Iran have been engulfed by heavy smog for the past weeks as an exceptionally dry autumn to the usual air pollution of the season.

Last year, nearly 21,000 Iranians lost their lives to air pollutants and the figure is expected to rise this year as air quality continues to deteriorate.

 

School Closures Smog Persists in Tehran The Iran Meteorological Organization