People, Environment

Belated Study of Clean Air Bill!

Belated Study of Clean Air Bill!Belated Study of Clean Air Bill!

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has promised the chamber will review the Clean Air Bill and as well as proposed amendments to the Technical Inspection Law at an upcoming parliamentary session, according to Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of the Department of Environment.

“We had a fruitful discussion and Mr. Larijani gave me his word to review the bills as soon as possible,” IRNA quoted her as saying.

The Clean Air Bill, along with 3 other environmental bills, have been stuck in the Parliament’s backlog for unacceptably long periods, especially in light of the rapid degradation of the environment and air pollution in the mega cities that is killing tens of people every day.

The bill aims to impose pollution tax on owners of polluting vehicles, distribute higher quality gasoline in more cities and overhaul the outdated and prohibitive fuel consumption policies of the domestic carmakers.

According to the DOE, the air pollution bill has been gathering dust in the legislature for over a year.

The department has also proposed more frequent technical inspections of vehicles. Whereas the current law stipulates that new vehicles must be inspected only after five years, the DOE is pushing for biennial inspections.

More than two weeks of heavy pollution led officials to ban all outdoor sport and impose new traffic restrictions on Wednesday as persistent cold weather exacerbated Tehran’s dangerous air quality problems.

In the worst concerted period of pollution for three years, primary schools and nurseries were closed and a city-wide even-odd car commute scheme was imposed in the capital.

“We wanted to close all schools but the Education Ministry insisted on keeping high schools open because of the term exams,” said Mohammad Heydarzadeh, head of provincial office of the DOE.

The decision not to close all schools was not well received by the public, with news website Asr Iran going as far as saying, “The entire city has been held hostage because 7,700 students have to prepare for final exams.”

Some say closing schools at all levels could have helped drastically reduce pollution levels that is almost always blamed on the almost 3.5 million gas-guzzlers (minus the imported brands) plying the streets of the clogged and suffocating capital.

Tehran’s air quality index averaged 159 on Wednesday, up from 157 the previous day, and more than three times the World Health Organization’s maximum advised level of between zero and 50.