Air Pollution Killed 4,460 in Tehran Last Year, Mehr Says

Air pollution in Iran’s capital Tehran killed about 4,460 residents in the last Iranian year, the state-run Mehr news agency reported, citing Hassan Aghajani, a Health Ministry official.

Aghajani gave the figures for the year that ended on March 19 in a program aired on national television two days ago, according to today’s report.

Tehran is shielded by mountains to the north, and rare wind and rain worsen pollution. With 12 million residents and more than 2 million vehicles, the city is among the world’s most polluted. About 2,500 people in Tehran die annually because of health problems caused by pollution, local media reported in 2010, citing the capital’s environmental organization.

The low quality of gasoline and diesel used by local automobiles is partly responsible for the smog in Tehran, a situation that also occurs in other large Iranian cities including Isfahan, Mashhad and Tabriz, Mehr said, citing unidentified officials. Yousef Rashidi, managing director of the Tehran air quality control company, has said that domestically manufactured cars and their ineffective combustion systems account for as much as 80 percent of Tehran’s air pollution rather than the poor quality of the locally produced fuel, according to the report.

The government has yet to release $2 billion from the country’s National Development Fund to expand the Tehran Metro and build subways in other large cities, in line with stated plans, Mehr said.

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