Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recent Developments in Air Pollution Policy

Air pollution is still a major problem for our large cities. Records indicate that air pollution was diagnosed in as far as 1974 as a major problem for Tehran. As the population and number of vehicles increased drastically over the years, from a few thousand to over 4 million in 2011,and due to the lack of serious determination in recent years the issue seems to have become unsurmountable.  In 1998, with the assistance of a team of experts and building upon three major studies a Comprehensive Plan to Combat Air Pollution was drawn up. The plan was adopted in 7 chapters a year later by the Government and implementation began. A strong inter-sectoral management committee was established, all car production lines were brought in line with environmental standards, lead was out-phased from gasoline, natural gas was promoted as a clean fuel and public transportation was enhanced during those years, until 2005 when the government changed.
The new government had other priorities, thus many of the programs concerning air pollution were cancelled or faced serious obstacles.This led to serious setbacks in programs and targets set for reduction of pollutants. This year we have faced more than 80 days of unhealthy air pollution levels. Aromatics, particulate matter, NO2 and ozone are major pollutants detected in Tehran . When it became clear for the Tehran City Council that the Government has a 5 year delay  in providing a revision of the Comprehensive Plan to Combat Air Pollution, they adopted the Environmental Committee proposal on this matter last month.
More interesting on this matter is the fact that the Tehran Municipality won an international award of Sustainable Transport, but the Government which sees the Mayor of Tehran,Mohammad Ghalibaf as a rival, opposed his presence in the US for accepting the award . Despite the Administrations opposition Alireza Dabir, a member of the Council went to receive the award instead.

No comments: