Tehran smog shuts schools down in south of city

Tehran smog dangerous to susceptible groups

Pre-schools and elementary schools in the south of the capital will be shut tomorrow as the city is gripped with heavy pollution, officials from the Tehran Municipality said on November 11.

According to the latest information available on public pollution website AQICN.org, the Iranian capital is witnessing high levels of pollutants as part of an inversion effect which occurs in winter trapping pollution close to the ground.

Schools in the southern district of the city have been told to close tomorrow and could remain shut for the rest of the week as pollution continues to linger on the city.

In the Shahr e-Rey an “Unhealthy” air quality index of 155 has been recorded, with Pm 2.5 particles reaching a maximum of 164*. In other words, it is crucial that those with underlying conditions or with respiratory issues do not go outside until the weather situation improves.

PM 2.5 particles are the tiny ones which are emitted out the back of motorcycles, cars, buses and trucks – if inhaled, they lodge themselves in the lining of lungs.

Meanwhile, in the Pasdaran area of the city, the score was not much better with AQI of 153 registered at 18:30 GMT.

Wednesday night and Thursday are expected to be the worse days this week for air pollution in Tehran, with an overall index for the city maxing out at 174, according to the website.

Tehran smog holidays, what to do?

  • Tip 1: Keep away from major roads, you can’t always see pollution, but scientists know it is concentrated on major roads and highways.
  • Tip 2: Walk alongside roads. You can immediately sense there is less pollution on side roads due to the lower volumes of traffic. So, it’s best to find a quiet alleyway with little traffic to make your way to your destination.
  • Tip 3: Watch out for hotspots of dirty air; for example, when cars are waiting at traffic lights pollution levels are as high as motorways. The pollution can back up in these areas, and you don’t want to breathe that.
  • Tip 4: Stand back at traffic lights. Evidence shows that the further you are away from the main road, the lower the amounts of pollution. Just wait where the air is that tiny bit cleaner.
  • Tip 5: If you’re on a hill, stick to the side where the vehicles are going down and not up!  It makes sense; nobody wants to have trucks and cars gearing up belching out pollution next to their faces.
  • Tip 6: According to medical studies, paper masks are somewhat useless. Yes, they may keep out the most significant particles of dust, but when it comes down to the much worse PM 2.5 particles, they have shown no benefit.

Update: We expect other areas of the city to call a “smog holiday” in the next few hours if the situation doesn’t improve.

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