Air pollution in Iran forced schools to close in parts of Iran including Tehran, as the capital lay under a thick cloud of smog considered hazardous to health.
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 decision to shut schools in the capital was announced late Saturday by deputy governor after a meeting of an emergency committee on air pollution.
Schools in the capital will close on Monday, the third day of the Iranian working week, the governor added later in an interview.
An odd-even traffic scheme based on vehicles’ registration numbers was imposed to restrict traffic in the capital, according to reports.
Trucks were banned outright in Tehran province.
According to sources, 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, news agency reported.
A grey cloud hung over Tehran on Sunday, obstructing the view of the mountains overlooking the city to the north.
The air pollution 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.
Earlier in November, air pollution forced the closure of schools and universities in parts of Iran, including Tehran, which was cloaked by a cloud of toxic smog, state media reported.
The young and elderly and people with respiratory illnesses were warned to stay indoors and sporting activities were suspended for the start of the working week in the Islamic republic.