People, Travel

Experts Urged to Help Improve Clean Air Bill

Iran's struggle with air pollution costs the country $30 billion a year.Iran's struggle with air pollution costs the country $30 billion a year.

The Majlis Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Commission has called on all environmental experts to collaborate with the authorities to improve the Clean Air Bill and increase its chances of approval by lawmakers.

Speaking to ISNA, Ali Vaqfchi, spokesperson of the commission, hoped that new ideas will help remove the bill's shortcomings and win the final approval of the Majlis.

"Clean air is people's right and all the country's capacities must be used to improve air quality," he said.

The 35-article bill was finally passed by the commission in late August—after gathering dust for nearly two years—paving the way for its review and passage by the parliament before being signed into law by President Hassan Rouhani.

Last week, legislators began deliberating on the bill and approved one of its articles that requires DOE and Interior Ministry to work in tandem when air pollution hits critical levels by enforcing public restrictions. The restrictions include, but are not limited to, regulating or banning access to locations with abnormal levels of air pollution.

Both the ministry and DOE are also obliged to inform the public of the restrictions and related developments.

The Clean Air Bill singles out inefficient vehicles, substandard fuels, industrial activities and dust storms as the major sources of air pollution. It proposes more frequent technical inspections of public and private vehicles.

While the current law stipulates technical inspection of new vehicles every five years, DOE is pushing for biennial checks. The department insists that government vehicles also be subjected to annual inspections.

Iran's struggle with air pollution costs the country $30 billion a year—nearly double the $16 billion reported by the World Health Organization in 2014, according to the Department of Environment.


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