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Air Pollution Threatens 11.5m Children in Iran

Based on a 2015 World Health Organization report, 80,000 people die prematurely every year in Iran.Based on a 2015 World Health Organization report, 80,000 people die prematurely every year in Iran.

A recent report by the Tehran Air Quality Control Company says that air pollution threatens the lives of 11.5 million children in the country. Children comprise 30% of the 80 million population.

Around 38 million people live in urban areas with highly polluted air such as Tehran where eight tons of fine particulates are generated from the city’s daily traffic, Ahvaz in Khuzestan Province which is perpetually stricken by dust storms, the industrial city of Arak in Markazi Province, and Zabol, an eastern  city bordering Afghanistan.

Zabol is struck every summer as temperatures rise to staggering levels of 40 degrees C or even higher, by what is locally known as “120 days of wind”, relentless dust storms from north to south. Last year officials were forced to distribute free masks when pollution reached 40 times more than normal.

Based on a 2015 World Health Organization report, 80,000 people die prematurely every year in Iran due to air pollution and 21% of all deaths are attributed to toxic air, according to the report.

Official statistics indicate that more than 4,400 people die annually in Tehran alone, due to high pollution levels. Besides, 3,200 people die in Mashhad because of toxic pollutant levels, whereas Isfahan’s share is 2,700.

Air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year globally and threatens the lives and futures of millions more every day. Official data released in 2012 said about one in every eight deaths across the world was due to air pollution, which translates into seven million deaths annually, reports hamshahrionline.ir.

A report released recently by UNICEF says that almost one in seven of the world’s children, 300 million, live in areas with the most toxic levels of outdoor air pollution, that is six or more times higher than international guidelines.

Children are more susceptible than adults to both indoor and outdoor air pollution as their lungs, brains and immune systems are still developing and their respiratory tracts are more permeable. Young children also breathe faster than adults, and take in more air relative to their body weight.

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