People, Environment

Carburetor Engines Stifling Tehran’s Residents

Tehran is home to 300,000 carburetor-equipped vehicles.Tehran is home to 300,000 carburetor-equipped vehicles.

Official statistics show Tehran’s air quality is improving, but a lot more still needs to be done to reduce the concentration of pollutants in the Iranian capital’s air.

Experts say three million vehicles that ply the streets of Tehran pollute 70-80% of Tehran’s air, with carburetor-equipped cars responsible for nearly half of that.

In a statement published on the mining and trade news website, Vahid Hosseini, chief executive of Tehran Air Quality Control Company, said the city is home to 300,000 carburetor-equipped vehicles that cause 45% of the pollution caused by cars in Tehran.

In other words, 10% of vehicles in Tehran are directly responsible for 31-36% of the city’s pollution.

“The city’s air pollution problems cannot be solved overnight, but enforcing measures that makes driving these vehicles difficult will eventually reduce their appeal among the masses,” Hosseini said in the statement.

The government has banned the production of highly-polluting carburetor-equipped motorcycles from September 22 and is urging people to opt for eco-friendly electric motorbikes.

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. In Tehran, more than 4,400 people die every year of diseases attributed to poor air quality.

Late last month, Majlis Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Commission passed the Clean Air Bill, paving the way for it to be reviewed and passed by the parliament before being signed into law by President Hassan Rouhani.

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 gathered 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).

The bill is expected to help alleviate the problem, but experts say a lot more needs to be done.