Pollution or virus, fresh air is what’s missing these days in Tehran

Air Pollution Board
(Source: hamshahrionline.ir)

I have a five-year-old kid who is experiencing his first year at school. But unfortunately, it couldn’t be a perfect experience for him, as he has been off at home for about half of the year until now due to unexpected reasons. It represents the story of different events occurred one after the other this year.

The new school year started with the Arbaeen event. The ministry of education announced that this year, every student is allowed to be absent at school for about ten days in order to participate in that event (this event is growing each year and some schools became totally closed. I’ll write about this event later).

Air pollution in Tehran in an unhealthy day.

After a while, by getting it colder in the autumn, the air pollution level raised. For some weeks, the large cities in Iran, experienced unprecedented air pollution due to less rain to clean up the air and more cars on the streets -a trend that seems growing in recent years. For example, this year in Tehran, the number of unhealthy days for sensitive groups increased to 80 days and 5 days unhealthy [for everyone, i.e. AQI=151-200]. Other cities like Isfahan, Hamedan, and Ahwaz were sometimes even worse than Tehran. It’s said that about 3000 people die each year only in Tehran for respiratory disorders caused by air pollution. The government tries to solve the issue by enacting extra driving limitations, discounting public transportation, and closing schools -esp. primary schools- as it kept schools closed for one whole week this year when there was no rain for only ten days. However, none of these really have solved the problem and sometimes the only way is waiting for another rain or wind!

Heavy autumn snow in Tehran cleared the air and made long traffic-jam on the streets.

Fortunately, this situation didn’t last long as we had enough rain and snow in the winter. But it didn’t change the situation with schools considerably! Yes, this time it was the other way around! And the heavy snow made schools closed again (some believe that it wasn’t just for snow but because of street social conflicts during that week after raising the petroleum price. Read here). So, we had to keep the children at home while playing outdoors in snow! That wasn’t so bad however, as right at that time, we had an unprecedented H1N1 influenza epidemic wave in the country that could make children interactions at schools very infectious.

Now, after passing all those national troubles, it’s time for my Child to stay at home longer than before -maybe for more than one month including the New Year holidays- because of the international crisis, the Coronavirus! The businesses are also working half-time and universities are closed or offering online courses. As this is an uprising situation, I may have to write about it more, later.

Tehran metro train disinfection for Coronavirus.


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