Yay, I used to say as a kid when we’d get snowed in for school. A surprise overnight “dump” could paralyze our small town as they called in ploughs from less icy regions in our Canadian province to salt the roads.
But in Tehran, it’s an environmental problem keeping the kids from school, and their parents from work – a “smog holiday.”
Costing 130 million dollars a day, NPR reports, Tehran is experiencing, for the third workday in two weeks an unhealthy blanket of smog.
Tehran was effectively shut down Thursday because of “unhealthy” pollution levels. This meant Government offices, schools, banks, factories and many other sites were ordered closed to try keep the eye-stinging cloud from growing any worse. I’ve felt eye-stinging in the polluted streets of Amman, Jordan, and it’s really nothing new to the people of Tehran, home to more than 12 million people, round-the-clock traffic jams of more than 3 million cars and buses.
Mehrdad, Green Prophet’s Iranian reporter, says that 27 people a day die in Tehran from air pollution, and the smog is only getting worse.
An urban landmark is the city’s giant air quality gauge. These days though, the smog is looking worse than ever.
There’s no shortage of pollution-busting plans, though. They run from the obvious — such as expanding public transportation and encouraging natural gas heating systems — to the much more exotic.
The head of Iran’s environmental protection agency said government researchers are studying ways to try to shake up the atmosphere to bring rain. Or perhaps create manmade wind corridors to blow away the smog.
But wait, Tehran has another decidedly brilliant idea: mass migration from Tehran to pollute another unspoiled tract of land. (Tehran was originally chosen by its early rules because of its healthy climate).
Wake up people: Clean your cities. Overhaul your public transportation system. Get old cars off the streets. Ride more bikes. Problem solved.
On the other side of the Middle East, Israeli university students are experiencing a “fire holiday” at the University of Haifa – another environmental catastrophe that has jarred people from their every day routine.