People, Environment

New Academic Year Worsens Tehran Air Pollution

New Academic Year Worsens Tehran Air Pollution
New Academic Year Worsens Tehran Air Pollution

Tehran’s already-questionable air quality is expected to worsen following the start of the new academic year.

According to Tehran Air Quality Control Company, the new school year, which began last Wednesday, brought with it a 20% increase in traffic that resulted in a 198-ton increase in air pollutants, Mehr News Agency reports.

What follows is the breakdown of the amount of air pollutants that entered the Iranian capital’s atmosphere on Wednesday: Carbon monoxide (134 tons), volatile organic compounds (16 tons), nitrogen oxide (8 tons), sulfur dioxide (400 kg) and particulate matter (64 kg).

Since the start of the current academic year immediately preceded a two-day weekend, there is a good chance that some students opted not to attend the first day of school. In that case, the aforementioned figures may actually be considered a conservative estimate of pollutants that will enter Tehran’s air on a daily basis for the next nine months.

A look at the air quality index for the first day of school over the past two years confirms this. AQI in 2013 and 2014 were 118 and 105 respectively, whereas on Wednesday the figure stood at 101. All the figures fall in the “moderately polluted” air quality category.

Experts at AQCC say Tehran’s air quality on weekdays will be at its worst in the early morning and midday, when students travel to and from schools.