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schools to close in Iran because of Smog forces

The decision to shut schools in the capital was announced late Saturday by deputy governor Mohammad Taghizadeh, after a meeting of an emergency committee on air pollution.

“All of (Tehran) province´s schools except for Firuzkuh and Damavand counties are closed for Sunday,” he said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

Schools in the capital will close on Monday, the third day of the Iranian working week, he added later in a state TV interview.

An “odd-even” traffic scheme based on vehicles´ registration numbers was imposed to restrict traffic in the capital, IRNA reported.

Trucks were banned outright in Tehran province.

Taghizadeh added that all activities at Tehran province´s numerous sand quarries would also be halted.

Schools were also closed in the northern province of Alborz and in the central cities of Qom and Arak, IRNA reported.

The pollution level in the capital was “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and officials warned the young, elderly and people with respiratory illnesses to stay indoors, with sporting activities suspended.

The problem worsens in Tehran during winter, when cold air and a lack of wind traps hazardous smog over the city for days on end, a phenomenon known as thermal inversion.

Most of the city´s pollution is caused by heavy vehicles, motorbikes, refineries and power plants, according to a World Bank report released last year.

“We can´t do anything but wait for wind to blow or rain to fall,” said student Bardia Danaie.

TEHRAN: Air pollution forced schools to close on Sunday in parts of Iran including Tehran, as the capital lay under a thick cloud of smog considered hazardous to health.

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