People, Environment

Majlis Commission Approves Clean Air Bill

Majlis Commission Approves Clean Air Bill
Majlis Commission Approves Clean Air Bill

The 35-article Clean Air Bill was passed by the Majlis Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Commission on Sunday, paving the way for it to be reviewed and passed by the parliament before being signed into law by President Hassan Rouhani.

According to a statement on the official website of Ali Mohammad Shae’ri, a member of the commission, the bill aims to impose hefty fines on all stationary and mobile sources of air pollution that exceed emission limits.

“The offenders will be identified and penalized,” the lawmaker said in the statement.

Shae’ri, whose constituency includes Behshahr, Neka and Golugah in Mazandaran Province, asserted that the Clean Air Bill singles out inefficient vehicles, substandard fuels, industrial activities and dust storms as the major sources of air pollution in the country.

“All sources of pollution must be brought up to national standards and take steps to curb their contribution to poor air quality,” he said.

The bill, which has been drawn up by the Department of Environment, proposes more frequent technical inspections of private vehicles. While the current law stipulates technical inspection of all vehicles once every five years, the DOE is pushing for biennial checks.

Furthermore, the department insists that government vehicles be subjected to annual inspections.

The bill had been gathering dust in the previous Majlis for over a year, but lawmakers in the current parliament, which held its first session in late May, had promised to review the bill after the Majlis’ summer recess (July 27-August 7).

According to the World Health Organization and Iran’s Health Ministry, air pollution in Iran’s mega cities is contributing to more than 80,000 premature deaths every year.

The bill is expected to help alleviate the problem, but a lot more needs to be done to effectively address the worsening problem. Fumes from more than 3 million cars that ply the streets of the Iranian capital contribute between 70% and 80% to Tehran’s air pollution, while decrepit motorcycles add to the city’s pollution woes.

The government has banned the production of highly-polluting, carburetor-equipped motorcycles from September and is urging people to opt for eco-friendly electric motorbikes.

The administration has been distributing Euro-4 quality petrol in major cities for months and has ordered automakers to produce vehicles that comply with the Euro-4 standard.