Teheran smog kills 3,600 in a month

Published: Thursday 15 February 2007

-- Hazardous air pollution in Teheran has reportedly killed at least 3,600 people within a month (October 23 to November 21, 2006), prompting the city officials to call it a "collective suicide".

Over the past one year, nearly 10,000 people have reportedly died--either directly or indirectly due to pollution--in the Iranian capital, reputed to be the world's most polluted city. Most of the deaths were caused by heart attacks and respiratory illnesses brought on by smog.

"It is a very serious and lethal crisis, a collective suicide," the director of Tehran's clean air committee, Mohammad Hadi Heydarzadeh, told an Iranian newspaper.

According to local media reports, the pollution problem becomes acute during winter when a lack of wind and cold air creates smog for days together. Availability of cheap fuel (at nine cents per litre) encourages people to use vehicles extensively, though many do not meet global emissions standards.

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