Iran’s environmental body asserts its right to green tax

January 23, 2018

TEHRAN — Once again Iran’s environmental body has demanded its right to the green tax imposed on polluting industries and allocated to municipalities.

“Every year some 100 trillion rials (nearly $2.2 billion) in green tax is collected which is distributed among the municipalities and none is laid out on environmental schemes,” an official with the Department of Environment (DOE) said on Tuesday.

Shina Ansari has explained that the green tax levied on polluting industries over the previous Iranian calendar year (March 2016-March 2017) amounted to some 130 trillion rials (nearly $2.8 billion) but it was not spent on environmental projects.

DOE is only in charge of identifying polluting industries and is not concerned with the green tax expenditure, Tasnim news agency quoted Ansari as saying. 
 
However, she continued, “we have suggested to spend the substantial sum on environmental affairs of the municipalities and even provide incentives for polluting industries [to become more eco-friendly].”

Mere collection of green taxes and not spending them for an environmental cause is absurd; the law makers have adopted the green tax law in order to mitigate and reduce air pollution, she added.

Green tax, also known as ecological taxation, is imposed in activities which are proved to be harmful to the environment and as its name suggests must be spent on environmentally friendly activities. 

The green tax law must act as a deterrent but the mechanisms must be reconsidered, Ansari noted, adding, the money must be spent on environmental affairs, “we do not intend to fight industrial development, we mean to reduce air pollution.”

The green tax law went into force in 2008 and had the municipalities spent the money on the fight against environmental challenges ever since there would be a dramatic transformation in waste management, public transport, waste water treatment, etc., she regretted. 

sfahan has highest number of polluting industries 

Ansari went on to say that with 916 polluting industries surrounding the central province of Isfahan the region has the highest number of industrial units fouling their environment.

Provinces of Tehran, Khuzestan, and Khorasan Razavi hold the next places with 450, 240, and 200 polluting industries located in suburban areas respectively, she said.  

Air pollution, a disaster of epic proportions

Air pollution is a challenge many cities worldwide are suffering and Iran is no exception. Metropolises of Tehran, Alborz, Tabriz, etc. are enveloped with the choking smog most weekdays and sand and dust storms in southwestern Iran has added fuel to the flames. 

The solutions are very much obvious; of course they are clearly hard to implement and it may not be possible to reverse some of the damages inflicted upon the environment but better lose the saddle than the horse.

MQ/MG

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