EghtesadOnline: Giant clouds of sand and dust particles swept across Iran and air pollution in the capital of Tehran soared to dangerous levels over the weekend as health officials warned against outdoor activities.
The Health Ministry issued a warning over worsening air conditions on Friday and recommended school closures on Saturday in areas most hit by the dust storms, including Tehran and Khuzestan, IRNA reported.
“Due to storms of dust and sand entering Tehran and western and north western cities, the elderly, those with heart disease and children should exercise caution,” Abbas Shahsavani, head of the Health Ministry’s committee for air quality and climate change, said.
High-speed winds have carried pollutants from western neighboring country Iraq into Iran, cutting visibility in some areas and raising the Air Quality Index to over 480, on a scale of 500, in Tehran, hazardous to the entire population regardless of age group.
Shahsavani said, “We need to know that everyone in society will be affected by this air pollution.”
The dust is expected to linger in western and central Iran at least until Saturday. Crippling dust storms have become more frequent over the past few years, imposing a heavy toll on the national healthcare system.