Holding Talks With Neighbors to Address Air Pollution

The president said a permanent solution necessitates cooperation with neighboring and regional nations
Holding Talks With Neighbors to Address Air Pollution
Holding Talks With Neighbors to Address Air Pollution

President Ebrahim Raisi instructed the Department of Environment to engage in dialogue with neighboring countries in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry to work toward a viable solution to mitigate air pollution.  
“A permanent solution necessitates cooperation with neighboring and regional nations,” he was quoted by his official website as saying during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.   
The remarks came one day after offices, schools and universities were ordered to shut due to dangerous levels of airborne dusts and particles arriving into the country through Iraq. 
Schools remained closed for a second day in a row on Wednesday but workplaces and universities reopened in the province of Tehran. 
PM10 readings surged to over 400 micrograms per cubic meter in the late hours of Monday in the capital Tehran but lowered to 238 before Tuesday noon. 
On Wednesday, the amount of fine particles, or PM2.5 fell to 126 µg/m3, “unhealthy” for sensitive groups.
According to experts, the recent sandstorms have originated from Iraq, which is facing frequent droughts as neighboring Turkey constructed dams on Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, dwindling water flow rates in the nation. 
The storms of dust particularly affect western provinces where PM10 readings surged to 500 in some areas on Tuesday, the highest figure on the Air Quality Index (AQI) and “hazardous” to all age groups. 
Over the past few years, Iran has regularly tackled with sandstorms that threaten the lives of its population and take a heavy toll on the national healthcare system. 



Hospital Visits Surge 

Hospitals in Iran reported a threefold spike in emergency department visits since dangerous sandstorms choked western and central parts of Iran, a senior official with the Health Ministry, Mohsen Farhadi, said on Wednesday. 
“We ask individuals to refrain from going outdoors, where they are more exposed to pollutants, as much as possible” he noted. 
The elderly, those suffering from heart and respiratory problems, pregnant women and sensitive groups have been advised to not exit their homes under current circumstances.
Farhadi said, “Many of those who’ve lost their lives to chronic problems from air pollution were suffering from heart and respiratory diseases.”
He added that while air pollution does not immediately kill a person, it can decrease their life expectancy in the long run. 
Western and southwestern parts of Iran are expected to be hit with yet another sandstorm on Friday, head of the national center for the forecast and management of air condition crises, Sadeq Ziayian, announced. 

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