Aging Planes Pile On Tehran Pollution Problem

Aging Planes Pile On  Tehran Pollution ProblemAging Planes Pile On  Tehran Pollution Problem

Tehran’s ceaseless struggle with air pollution is exacerbated by the aging fleet of aircraft that frequent Mehrabad Airport in western Tehran, according to a member of Majlis Social Commission.

Home to 12 million people, Tehran is one of the most polluted cities in Iran, which problem mainly stems from the 3-5 million cars that ply its streets and contribute a whopping 70-80% to the city’s pollution woes. Industrial units in and around Tehran are also said to play a part.

However, according to Abdolreza Azizi, an MP from Shirvan, North Khorasan Province, old planes make matters worse for the denizens of the sprawling capital, ICANA, the official news agency of the Majlis, reported.

“Dilapidated airplanes in Mehrabad Airport contribute to air pollution and measures should be taken to ban substandard aircraft from using the airport,” he said.

“They emit two to three thousand times more pollutants than cars.”

Mehrabad is the busiest domestic airport in the country in terms of passenger traffic and aircraft movement.

To upgrade the aging fleet of the national flag carrier Iran Air, the government of President Hassan Rouhani signed a deal with French plane manufacturer Airbus in January to purchase 118 jets.

The deal was made possible thanks to the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran following Tehran’s compliance with its obligations as part of the historic nuclear deal signed in July last year with the six world powers.

According to Iran Air Chairman Farhad Parvaresh, Iran needs 300 new aircraft in the next decade.

  Plane Exhaust Deadlier Than Crashes

Airplane exhaust, like car exhaust, contains a variety of air pollutants, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

Particulate matter is the main culprit in affecting human health, especially since the tiny particulates can become wedged deep in the lung and possibly enter the bloodstream, scientists say.

A 2010 study led by MIT researchers found that globally, about 8,000 deaths a year result from pollution from planes at cruising altitude—about 35,000 feet (10,668 meters)—whereas about 2,000 deaths result from pollution emitted during takeoffs and landings.

By comparison, airplane crashes kill about 1,000 people every year.

The most common causes of death due to air pollution are cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, according to the World Health Organization.

  Effect on Climate Change

Carbon emissions from airplanes, especially those past their maximum service life (20-30 years) contribute significantly to climate change.

Currently, air travel and shipping together account for about 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but are projected to account for about 30% by 2050.

With its annual carbon emissions exceeding 800 tons, Iran is one of the top 10 emitters of greenhouse gas.

The Rouhani administration has pledged to curb its carbon emissions by 4% by 2030, while it has targeted a 12% reduction by that year, should it receive international financial aid.