Toxic smog: Iran criticised for winter 'air pollution catastrophe'

(Context, 27 Feb 2023) Environmental analysts say air pollution is worsening in Iran and that the government is not doing enough to tackle the problem.

In Iran this winter, hospital emergency rooms have been full, schools regularly closed, and many people unable to work or even leave their homes due to toxic smog, which a leading United Nations expert is calling an "air pollution catastrophe".

Dirty air is a chronic problem in Iran. Many of its cities including Tehran regularly rank among the world's most polluted, due to emissions from millions of older vehicles on the roads, and from refineries, power plants, and factories.

About 40,000 people nationwide die each year due to health problems linked to air pollution, from respiratory infections and lung cancer to heart attacks, according to the Air Pollution Research Center at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

However, environmental experts say the situation is deteriorating as the country burns ever-larger quantities of mazut – a low-quality and highly-polluting fuel – to sustain its power plants during a natural gas shortage.

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Context, 27 Feb 2023: Toxic smog: Iran criticised for winter 'air pollution catastrophe'