Tribunal to Tackle Air Pollution Violations
The Majlis on Tuesday approved an article in the Clean Air Bill that authorizes the formation of a special tribunal dedicated to air pollution cases in every court across the country.
The article was approved with 132 votes in favor, 24 against and six abstentions from among the 226 lawmakers present in the 290-member assembly, ISNA reported.
It is unclear why 64 legislators, who no doubt campaigned fervently to get into the parliament, did not take part in the voting process.
Air pollution-related cases will be presided over by judges familiar with environmental law.
In a bid to expand the legal authority of environment officials, those with appropriate training will be given the same powers as law enforcement officials.
The bill exempted the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization, Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Environment from paying court fees when they file a lawsuit.
The 35-article bill aims to impose hefty fines on all stationary and mobile sources of air pollution that exceed emission limits.
The bill had been gathering dust for well over a year before the new parliament began work in May 2016.
With 26,000 annual deaths due to air pollution, Iran ranks 16th in terms of air pollution-related deaths, according to figures released by the World Health Organization, costing Iran around $30 billion a year.
The Clean Air Bill, which was drafted by DOE, aims to improve air quality in Iran’s metropolises by imposing measures such as improving the quality of gasoline distributed in major cities, obliging carmakers to produce at least Euro-4 fuel compliant vehicles and mandating more frequent technical inspections.
The last measure, however, was essentially thwarted by lawmakers earlier this month as they revised the relevant article to reduce mandatory technical inspections from every five years to four as opposed to biennial checkups sought by the original article.
Other key articles approved by the parliament so far include the designation of the Iranian National Standards Organization as the entity in charge of setting individual pollution guidelines for different industries and fining industrial units that exceed those limits with between three and five times the amount of damage they inflict on the environment.