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Air Pollution in Tehran May Push Population Outward

Air pollution in Tehran has been unchecked over the last few years. Levels have reached alarming rates, and are expected to increase in the future if adequate measures are not taken.

"The main pollutants in the environment are aromatics, nitrogen-dioxide, particulate matter, carbon-dioxide and other greenhouse gases amongst others. The capital is now at an alert level with a pollution standard index (PSI) of 151. A PSI of 100 is termed unhealthy for all living conditions."

SFG lists causes as

Cars
"The number of cars on the road, which stand at between 3.5 million to 4 million as of 2011, and cause about 80 per cent of the pollution in the city."

Policy
"Lack of adequate management and planning, and insufficient public transportation for the volume of people in the city have also aided in the increasing air pollution"

Industry
"Iran is also working towards attaining gasoline self-sufficiency, and the factories located in the suburbs, outside the city of Tehran, are adding to the cloud of smoke."

Geography
"Tehran, which is surrounded by the famous Alborz Mountains on three sides. If there is no wind of rain, the steep slopes act as a thermal catch basin and the smog gets trapped over the city."

Implications:

"The increasing air pollution is causing severe financial loses to the city, and is posing a severe health risk of the people of Tehran. People with heart and respiratory ailments are advised to stay at home, and taxi drivers and others who work in the open have been told to wear surgical masks. Though the exact number of people affected with health risks is currently unknown, it is estimated that close to 4000 people died of respiratory and cardiac related diseases in 2010, and the number of patients in hospitals and local clinics with asthma and breathing problems has risen by a third."

"The increasing pollution is also affecting animals and other wildlife in surrounding areas. Predators such as the Persian cheetah that dwell in the mountainous regions are in trouble, along with other endemic species."

"With this steady increase in air pollution and little sustained effort to combat the future dangers, and the growing dangers of financial and health risks, there is a potential of migration from the capital city as people have already begun moving to Isfahan and other smaller coastal towns along the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf in the south. This could lead to a strain on resources of these smaller cities and towns."

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