Sandstorms Close Offices, Education Centers in Several Cities 

Sandstorms Close Offices, Education Centers in Several Cities 
Sandstorms Close Offices, Education Centers in Several Cities 

Severe sandstorms hit several cities, including the capital Tehran, on Sunday evening, shutting summer schools, offices and all educational centers in the affected areas on the following day.
Levels of PM10 concentrations, small and hazardous airborne particles, rose dangerously high on Sunday and they are expected to remain high for at least two days, ISNA reported.
This week’s episode of air pollution follows many more that occurred this spring in Iran and surrounding areas.
In the early hours of Monday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Tehran hit 465 on a scale of 500, the number indicating that it was unsafe for even healthy people to go outside.
“It is recommended that pregnant women, the elderly and those with breathing problems avoid exposure to air pollutants,” head of Tehran’s crisis management unit, Hamed Yazdimehr, said.
Ambulances have been placed in critical areas in the capital in case of an emergency and hospitals are on alert to immediately care for more sensitive groups.
Origins of storms of dust and particle affecting Tehran are domestic this time around, Tehran’s Meteorological Organization announced.
The dust storms were carried by strong winds from deserts located in Qazvin and Alborz provinces.
Poor air quality is likely to persist for a few days.



Regional Problem

Starting spring, the Middle East has been frequently hit by massive sandstorms that have disrupted daily life and sent thousands to emergency rooms complaining of difficulties breathing.
Huge storms of particle and dust blanketed the area multiple times and for days on end as the consequences of decades of land and water mismanagement finally caught up with the region.
Arid lands have turned into new sources of sand and particle that high-speed winds carry into neighboring nations.
The thick smogs of pollutants are impacting many provinces throughout the country. 
Over the past 24 hours, at least 532 patients visited hospitals complaining of breathing problems in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, one of the worst-hit areas in the country.
Some 17 were hospitalized in general wards and 62 are under intensive care.
Health authorities have warned against outside activity, especially physical, when particle matters linger in the air.
The airborne particles can enter lungs and travel into the blood stream. In the long run, many problems could arise from exposure to the dangerous pollutants.
Air pollution kills millions of people every year around the world, imposing a heavy burden on national healthcare systems.

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