New DoE Warning on Pollution, Fuel Quality

New DoE Warning on Pollution, Fuel QualityNew DoE Warning on Pollution, Fuel Quality

Close to 35 million Iranians are at risk from the worsening air pollution, head of the Department of Environment (DoE) warned on the sidelines of a ceremony for scrapping old cars on Saturday. She also urged car manufacturers to offer vehicles that meet the Euro-4 fuel quality standard and help curb pollution.

Ebtekar said more than 30 percent of public transport vehicles are outdated and need replacement. She called for replacing dilapidated public transit vehicles, such as buses and mini buses, and underlined the scrapping of old gas-guzzlers as one of the government's priorities to help decrease air pollution in the megacities, ILNA reported.

Some 350,000 old vehicles are scheduled to be scrapped by the yearend. According to the ministry of transport and urban development, automobile use in Iran doubled in the past eight years, and around one million cars on the road are more than 20 years old.

In addition, more than 1.5 million cars were sent to the junkyard over the past decade.

Saturday's ceremony, which was also attended by Vice-President Muhammad Shariatmadari, was held to mark the scrapping of 311,000 old vehicles, some more than three decades old.

According to the official, major plans to fight air pollution were scrapped a decade ago after former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005.

According to reports, people in Tehran inhaled relatively cleaner air for 50 more days in the outgoing Iranian calendar year (ends March 20) compared to a year ago. The DoE chief said the level of air pollution in Tehran was below-standard for 160 days last year, but the number improved to around 110 days in the current year.

  Motorcycle Pollution

Motorcycles using carburetors are five times more pollutant than conventional vehicles, Ebtekar said, calling for the use of motorcycles equipped with fuel-injection engines as well as electric and hybrid two-wheelers.

She also said the oil ministry has taken steps to reduce the distribution of low-quality gasoline and increase  supply of the superior Euro-4 gasoline.

She insisted that new automobiles must be manufactured in compliance with Euro-4 fuel standard and cars that do not meet this quality should not be given license plates by the relevant government authorities.

Production of Euro-4 gasoline is expected to increase by 5 million liters a day in the next Iranian year (starts March 21). In addition, the oil ministry has plans to distribute Euro-4 gasoline in eight major cities as of late March.

Distribution has begun in Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Karaj, Qom and Tabriz, while Shiraz and Ahvaz have not yet received Euro-4 gasoline.

Shariatmadari singled out cars as major air pollutants and said industrial units and factories are responsible for 30 percent of the overall pollution.

The vice-president recalled that Tehran is the second-most polluted city and Iran among the top 10 most polluted countries in the world.