Officials' Solutions for Tehran's Pollution

The workgroup discussed issues such as waste disposal, railroad development and expansion of green spaces
Between 650,000 and 700,000 cars enter Tehran from the surrounding cities every day.Between 650,000 and 700,000 cars enter Tehran from the surrounding cities every day.
The comprehensive waste management plan is to become operational by next autumn

The workgroup to reduce Tehran's air pollution met on Sunday to discuss solutions for alleviating the provincial residents' breathing woes.

Experts believe this can be achieved by scrapping clunkers, controlling vehicle emissions, managing waste, developing railroads, expanding green spaces and banning polluting industries.

Waste management was a pivotal issue of discussion, as burning wastes in urban areas is one of the causes worsening air quality.

Mohammad Hossein Bazgir, the head of Tehran city's office of the Department of Environment, said nearly 8,000 tons of household trash and 50,000 tons of construction wastes are produced in the capital daily, ISNA reported.

The large figure is even increasing. Kioumars Kalantari, the head of Tehran Province's DOE office, said per capita waste production rose from 850 grams to 920 over the five years ending 2016.

The huge piling mass of garbage calls for a speedy and eco-friendly disposal mechanism.

While burning these materials is the easiest way to get rid of them, "they can be a source of wealth if properly managed and recycled", Kalantari said.

Reports have shown that in counties such as Pakdasht, Shahriar and District 22, waste matter is illegally burnt at night, which exacerbates the already polluted air.

Tehran's Governor General Mohammad Hossein Moqimi announced that waste burning across cities is against the law and governors have been instructed to strictly enforce the law.

"Burning must certainly be carried out outside the urban zone," he said.

Tehran Municipality is legally bound to address the issue of waste disposal by sorting at source, raising awareness, recycling and using other methods under the supervision of DOE.

However, the comprehensive waste management plan, which should be devised by Tehran Municipality, has been suspended for a year due to lack of funds.

Bazgir told ISNA that in its latest report to the workgroup, the municipality has declared that the plan is set to become operational by next autumn (September-December).

"The plan will cover all waste management areas, including separation at source, methodical collection and transfer, training residents, recycling and energy generation, as well as dealing with special waste such as hospital and electronic materials," he said.

 What's More

The development of railroads to connect the capital to Pardis and Parand counties in Tehran Province and Hashtgerd in Alborz Province was another topic discussed in the meeting.

"Between 650,000 and 700,000 cars enter Tehran from the surrounding cities every day and to prevent the rush, there is no other way but to expand the rail network," Kalantari, the provincial DOE head, said.

The workgroup agreed to accord high priority to the matter by preparing a memorandum of understanding to be signed by Roads Ministry, Tehran Municipality and Governorate.

"The Plan and Budget Organization is also tasked with allocating the required funds," he said. The next issue on the meeting's agenda was expansion of urban green spaces. The workgroup decided that 1,700 hectares of green space have to be established across the province by early March.

As the capital is experiencing its highest level of pollution, the ban on the entry of dilapidated heavy vehicles and those lacking a technical inspection certificate has been extended until Feb. 4.

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