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Ahvaz Struggles to Stop Smog

Ahvaz Struggles to Stop Smog
Ahvaz Struggles to Stop Smog

Following Tehran’s example in its battle against worsening air pollution, the mayor of Ahvaz has called on the Interior Ministry for help in controlling and curbing the omnipresent smog in the oil city in southwest Khuzestan Province.
In a talk with IRNA, Mansour Katanbaf said, “Effective action is needed to curb air pollution in Ahvaz to make life bearable for the residents.”
The rising density of toxic emissions in the city has raised serious concern among environmentalists and the people, with many demanding implementation of immediate measures for tackling the problem.
“Introduction of a low emission zone scheme can and should help Ahvaz tackle the traffic and air pollution problems to some degree. Similar plans are being implemented in Tehran and have had some results.”
Tehran Municipality has launched a scheme it calls Air Pollution Reduction plan that bans clunkers and dilapidated vehicles from the overcrowded capital. Tehran has over 1,200 surveillance cameras along the main roadways to move scheme forward and help improve the air quality. The results of the scheme are yet to be verified by independent authorities.
While Khuzestan Province is rich with oil and natural gas, it lacks the adequate modern infrastructure for implementing traffic schemes crucial for curbing air pollution.
Katanbaf said Ahvaz and other cities in the province are deprived of the infrastructure required for efficient traffic surveillance. Only 22 surveillance cameras have been installed and are not equipped with the technology required for capturing the plate number of polluting vehicles.
Appealing for immediate action, Katanbaf urged the Interior Ministry to announce measures for improving traffic surveillance in the province. Some 1.2 million people live in Ahvaz.
Studies carried out by the Department of Environment show vehicles are the source of 30% of air pollution in Khuzestan where much of Iran’s oil is produced.
The major polluters, the DoE says are industries constantly spewing poison in the air and are responsible for at least 58% of the toxic gases released in the atmosphere in the border region. 
One of the main culprits behind the industrial air pollutants in Khuzestan is the carbon emissions released from oil and gas flaring.

Another Battle Zone 

As if the air pollution and related problems were not enough, the province has been saddled with suffocating sand storms emanating from the arid plains in neighboring Iraq.
The huge amounts spent into remedial projects to stabilize the soil and curb soil erosion, like mulching, in the province have not produced the desired results.
Mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil. The most common type in Iran is petroleum-based mulch whose ecological impact is still a matter of debate.
What is more, fire incidents in the Iran-Iraq shared wetland of Houralazim have dimmed the skies of the province for long. This is while, even before being blazed, the drought-stricken wetland was another disturbing source of dust storms.

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