People, Environment

Carbon Monoxide Almost Gone From Major Cities

Carbon monoxide in car fumes is a highly toxic gas.Carbon monoxide in car fumes is a highly toxic gas.

Data from the Department of Environment indicate that the concentration of carbon monoxide in Iran’s metropolises has remained well below dangerous levels throughout the past two years and the indices have not reached the threshold.  

The pollutant gas is almost eliminated from the air in major cities, much like how lead was removed from the air in 2004, said Saeed Motessadi, deputy for human environment at the DOE.

He attributed the DOE’s success in reducing carbon monoxide concentrations to a variety of factors, such as upgrading monitoring systems and setting up more sensors across cities, according to ISNA.

“We will soon have to reduce the number of CO sensors and replace them with sensors of other toxic pollutants,” the official added.

According to Motessadi, the current drop in CO levels is the outcome of attempts to improve fuel quality as well as vehicle standards.

“With the obligation to install on-board diagnostic systems on automobiles, vehicles will no longer emit carbon monoxide,” he said.

Industrial units across the country are also monitored by provincial DOE offices but the programs must be expanded in certain provinces.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly less dense than air. It is toxic to hemoglobic animals (including humans) when encountered in concentrations above 35 ppm.

Motessadi later pointed to environmental impact assessment of development projects, adding that “no operation has been launched without DOE’s permit in the present administration.”

This is while 156 projects were initiated in the previous administration with no environmental assessment, he said.

“These projects have been halted temporarily and will be banned if the results of the investigations indicate their failure to meet the standards,” added the official.

  Pollution Tax

Referring to pollution tax, a divisive subject between the DOE and municipalities, Motessadi said the only reason municipalities collect the tax is to spend it on reducing air pollution, but he questioned whether the money is spent on the purpose.

“Municipalities have never clarified where this money has been invested and the DOE is not given the right to monitor the accounts,” he said.

Iran introduced green taxes in 2009 to promote sustainable development and reduce the impact of industrial activities on the environment, but the levy is paid to municipalities even though the DOE is the authority responsible for environmental issues.

Polluting industries are charged 1% of their annual revenue as environmental (or pollution) tax, according to Article 38 of the Value Added Tax Law.