Tehran is an important city, but breathing is a consistent problem: 3,000 people die a year because of air pollution.
Carbon monoxide from thousands of cars is kept hanging in the air for hours because the Alborz Mountains in the east of the city traps the winds coming from the west. Periodic sand storms don’t help. The problem has been getting a lot worse.
The government has started to take action. Cars have to meet a new fuel standard, and last month Iran’s parliament passed a ‘Clean Air Bill’. Metropolitan authorities will now be legally bound to increase public transport, and so reduce exhaust fumes; and cars will now have to be inspected every two years rather than every five.
In a recent interview an official from the government’s environment department, Mohammad Rastergari, was optimistic that the problem would be solved in the next five years. For Tehran’s 12 million or so workers and residents the problem can’t be solved soon enough.