Clean air: What’s my role?

January 19, 2016

TEHRAN — On the occasion of National Day of Clean Air, which is being observed on January 19 annually, the Department of Environment held a conference with the motto of “Clean air: What’s my role?”.


Masoumeh Ebtekar, chief of the Department of Environment, delivered a speech which for the most part focused on the steps taken by all responsible organizations to tackle the invisible beast of air pollution.

“Now we can’t use sanctions as an excuse [for our failures in controlling the air pollution] and we have weightier responsibilities,” she noted.

On Saturday, Tehran’s nuclear deal with great powers went into effect which removes sanctions against Iran.

She explained that the national working group for air pollution mitigation has so far had 23 sessions of which none were “ceremonial” and during each session the responsible organizations were due to give comprehensive reports about their activities to control and reduce air pollution.

Ebtekar added over the past 27 months of her reign, despite sanctions, her organization has achieved remarkably huge accomplishments. “Although one should not expect the problems to be resolve overnight.”

******* Pollutant industries are given a 6-month deadline

Ebtekar noted that all industries are due to reconsider their pollutant levels based on the new standards set by the Department of the Environment after months of research and hard work.

The industrial pollutants such as heavy metals and nitrogen oxide which are main culprit for air pollution in metropolises will be monitored vigilantly, she added.

Monitoring the industrial pollutants has been largely neglected since 1995 and that now they will be strictly examined for any violation, she explained.

Every single industry should contribute to sustainable developments, she said.

Since the lifting of sanctions open a new page in foreign investment the pollutant industries which neglect new rules and regulations will be deprived of any international cooperation and their activities will be suspended or terminated, she cautioned.

******* Clean air bill to be approved by the Majlis

Concurrent with the National Day of Clean Air, the clean air bill which has been waiting to be approved by the Majlis for a year and a half, is now on agenda, she said, adding that a joint commission is tasked to examine the bill and then it will be put into a vote in the parliament for final ratification.

As the clean air bill is pretty inclusive, takes various aspects of the air pollution into consideration, and assign responsibilities to different organizations it is of great significance, she pointed out.

******* Focus on environment in the sixth five-year development plan

Ebtekar said all environmental matters, ranging from air pollution to protection of jungles, lakes, lagoons, and rivers which are environmentally in a critical condition, have been given due attention in drawing up the sixth five-year development plan.

The development plan and the national budget bill presented to the parliament on Sunday.

******* It takes a decade to have a clean air

Citing Mexico City and Tokyo, Ebtekar said it takes at least 15 years for a country to meet the minimum standards for a clean air.

“We worked hard for four years during the eighth administration (2001-2005); (and) considering an eight year interval [between the ninth and tenth administrations (2005-2013)] we need at least ten years to live up to the standards for a clean air.”

******* Everyone has to be accountable for environment

Tackling air pollution is not the responsibility of one department and one organization or ministry is not the cause of air pollution alone, she pointed out, adding reducing air pollution is beyond one organization’s responsibility and “each and every one of us” is accountable for the protection of environment.

She referred to the “car free Tuesdays” campaign run by environmental NOGs, which aims at encouraging the public to use public transportation rather than their own cars at least once a week, thanking them for their active contributions to the matter.

******* An outline of practical measures to reduce air pollution

Ebtekar’s deputy Sa’eed Motesaddi also outlined the department’s activities to reduce air pollution.

Pointing to violation of rules in periodic motor vehicle inspections, Motesaddi said a coherent center will be launched soon for the purpose in order to reduce the possibility of fraudulent conducts.

Low carbon economy, periodic monitoring of the pollutant industries, analyzing and monitoring the fuel quality four times a year, Euro-4 gasoline distribution in metropolises, halting the production of carburetor motorcycles by the next Iranian calendar month of Mehr (September 23 to October 22), using gas instead of mazut as a fuel for power plants, preparing a dust and particles national document, etc. are some the plans which are either being implemented or will be put into effect in the near future to minimize air pollution, Motesaddi explained.

MQ/PA

[Caption]

The poster of the conference for “clean air” is filled with fingerprints with different colors. It symbolizes each individual’s share in air pollution and wishes every fingerprint to become blue like the color of sky.