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Iran Pollution Worsens as Thousands Die

Health & Wellness  (tags: healthconditions, environment, pollution, iran, ethics, death, illness, healthcare, disease, warning, society, safety, risks, protection, study, science, medicine )

- 1987 days ago -
thick brown haze which has covered nine big cities - including the capital, Tehran - in Iran for the past 10 days is being blamed for thousands of deaths.

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JL A (281)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 4:36 pm
Iran pollution worsens as thousands die
Mohsen Asgari By Mohsen Asgari BBC News, Tehran
Iranian woman looks on at the smog covering Tehran, Iran, on 4/1/13 Tehran's medics have seen a rise in pollution-related health problems
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A thick brown haze which has covered nine big cities - including the capital, Tehran - in Iran for the past 10 days is being blamed for thousands of deaths.

Iran's deputy health minister said some 4,460 people died from air pollution in Tehran in the first nine months of last year.

At the peak of the crisis, hospital admissions were said to have risen by at least a third and the corridors of local clinics were full of wheezing people, children and pregnant women waiting for oxygen and treatment.

The BBC's office in Tehran, located in the highlands in the northern part of the city, often offers a clear view of the sprawling city of Tehran. But these days, I see only the blurred outlines of high-rise buildings and the murky Milad communications tower in the distance.

Walking in the streets of Tehran is impossible without wearing a surgical mask over one's mouth and nose, but people's eyes still tear up and their throats sting from the mist of pollutants, which, according to reports, are made up of particles containing lead, sulphur dioxins and benzene.

Shielded from cleansing winds by the Alborz mountain range that embraces the capital like a crescent moon, flooded with cars and surrounded by cement factories and power stations, Tehran has long been notorious for pollution - particularly during dry winters of still air, such as this one.

But air quality has recently been worse, for longer, than ever before.

According to reports, Tehran enjoys less than 100 healthy days a year. Iran's health ministry has reported a rise in respiratory and heart diseases, as well as an increase in a variety of cancers that it says are related to pollution.

Each year, the 5.5 million vehicles in the city pump an estimated five million tonnes of CO2 and other poisonous gases into the air.
Iranian women wearing masks in Tehran (file photo) Iranians have been taking preventive measures against the smog

Some experts believe that domestically-produced petrol suffers from low quality and it has fanned the flames of air pollution.

Donya-e-Eqtesad newspaper, which is critical of the government, asked for an improvement in petrol standards in its editorial on Sunday. However, on state television, several officials denied that the yellow haze had anything to do with the locally-produced fuel.

State organisations, schools, universities and banks reopened on Sunday after the government had ordered them to shut down for five days to help ease the chronic pollution.

Meanwhile, the government has imposed strict traffic regulations in Tehran. An odd-even traffic-control plan based on the last digit of vehicle licence plates takes nearly half the cars off Tehran's streets on a daily basis. But these are short-term tactics, and do not have much of an impact on changing things long-term.
'Quickly forgotten'

Without an effective government plan to curb the pollution, people and officials must wait for the rain and wind to come to wash away the smog.

In the new Farmaniyeh hospital in northern Tehran, children cough as they wait with their mothers for treatment.

Most of them are receiving Diphenhydramine or Prospan syrup.

"Do not rely on this prescription. Listen to your mother and try not to go out at all and drink milk and water as much as you can," Dr Bahrami tells a 10-year-old boy who is coughing after every breath.

"You can mix hot water and honey and make him drink to stop his coughing," Dr Bahrami tells the boy's mother.

Tehran, home to nearly 14 million people, needs a strategic plan to get rid of the deadly pollution.

But when the winds pick up and the smog is dispersed, in the short-term the problem is quickly forgotten, until the next time the brown haze descends.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 4:47 pm

Whether it's Iran or LA we have some serious world wide pollution problems that are just going to disappear. It's not the fault of mountains nor a thermal inversion, it's acquired from years of disregard for our planet and those who must inhabit this tiny world.

JL A (281)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 5:04 pm
Sad but all too true Kit! You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 6:02 pm

*Oops - are NOT going to just disappear. Though it would be great if they did.

JL A (281)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 6:08 pm
Actually, as I recall the LA of the past, the buildings seem to disappear when the smog is bad enough Kit...

Mitchell D (87)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 6:27 pm
This is too bad for the residents of Tehran. Maybe Ahmedinijad will blindly walk out into traffic one day.

Giana Peranio-paz (398)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 12:11 am
I feel sorry for the people of Teheran, but the world is a diverse place, places where knowledge is plentiful and other barren countries...

JL A (281)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 8:25 am
You cannot currently send a star to Giana because you have done so within the last week.

. (0)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 9:23 am
Holy Beijing Batman.....

Jaime Alves (52)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 1:44 pm

Jaime Alves (52)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 1:45 pm
Very sad for all.!!

. (0)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 2:29 pm
Just a tragedy.

Vicky P (476)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 3:06 pm
that's pretty scary :( I feel for them

Talya H (10)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 3:50 pm
Horrible, government needs to step up!!

Natalie V (27)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 3:57 pm

JL A (281)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 9:47 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Michael because you have done so within the last week.
You cannot currently send a star to Allen because you have done so within the last week.

Lindsay K (6)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 6:17 am

Billie C (2)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 10:24 pm
i have a hard time feeling sorry for them. i can only hope their idiot government fools die from lack of air.
they are a pretty worthless country.

JL A (281)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 7:06 am
I'm sorry you have trouble feeling empathy and compassion for ordinary people and children who have nothing to do with their country's policies.
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