TEHRAN - Air pollution has killed 3,600 people in just a month in the Iranian
capital Tehran, an official said, describing the city's environmental situation
as a "collective suicide".
"Pollution has directly or indirectly caused the deaths of 3,600 people in
the month of Aban (October 23 to November 23)," Mohammad Hadi Heydarzadeh,
director of Tehran's clean air committee, was quoted by Tuesday's edition of
He said that the deaths were caused by heart attacks brought on by the air
pollution and that the smog was responsible for 80 percent of the fatal heart
problems that month in Tehran, one of the world's most polluted cities.
"It is a very serious and lethal crisis, a collective suicide," he warned. "A
real revolution is needed to resolve this problem."
The new figures showed a sharp rise in pollution-related deaths in Iran,
where 9,900 people died of pollution in the previous Iranian year (March 2005 to
Carbon monoxide from car exhausts is blamed for the majority of deaths by
creating respiratory and cardiac problems in Tehran, which has 1.3 million
ageing cars with poor fuel efficiency, spewing lethal gases into citizens'
Half of Iran's six million cars fail to meet global standards and burn twice
as much petrol as a European car. With pump prices merely at nine cents a liter
(41 cents per gallon), streets are crammed with cars, with terrible traffic jams
in rush hours.
The pollution problem becomes particularly acute during winter when a lack of
wind and the cold air means that great clouds of smog sit on the city for days
The authorities regularly ask the elderly and children not to leave their
homes when the pollution is at its peak in Tehran, a city of at least seven
million people. They also shut down schools to protect the