SDSs shut down schools in southeastern Iran

October 7, 2018

TEHRAN – Huge sand and dust storms (SDSs) led to the closure of schools in Rigan, Kerman and Fahraj counties located in the southeastern province of Kerman, on Sunday.

The schools in the mentioned counties are closed, while in the other cities of the province schools are open, IRNA quoted Amir Salajeqeh, an official with the provincial education department general as saying.

Also, Reza Jazinizadeh, provincial environment chief, said that the level of particulate matters (PM) has reached 353 micrograms per cubic meter in the region.

“The air quality index in Fahraj county is estimated at 464, which is 4.5 times above the safe levels, and Zarand county with an air quality index of 500 has exceeded the safe levels by five times,” he added.

He went on to say that a committee on combating air pollution is stablished at the provincial department of the environment of Kerman due to the province’s air quality index being at a dangerous level.

“Considering the Meteorological Organization warnings about the high PM concentration, and its harmfulness, schools have been closed on Sunday,” he stated.

He further explained that “Currently, in Iran safe levels of PM is identified as under 100 micrograms per cubic meter, it will be unhealthy for sensitive groups when reaches between 100-150, and also unhealthy for all groups of people when stands at 150-200, and over 200 which is anonymously dangerous”.

Pointing to the lack of dust measuring device in most of the cities of Kerman, he noted that tools for monitoring air quality is available only in some cities of Fahraj, Rigan, Zarand and Kerman.

The province has experienced healthy air quality for only one day during the first Iranian calendar month of Farvardin (March 21-April 20), while being unhealthy for sensitive groups during the second month of Ordibehesht (April 21-May 21), he said, adding that furthermore, in the month of Khordad (May 22-June 21), Kerman's air has reached a level which was unhealthy for sensitive groups and all groups of people.

Moreover, PM concentration peaking above the safe levels, also closed schools and offices in Rigan county, southeastern Kerman province, Rigan’s governor Ali Bagheri said.

He went on to say that it has also caused respiratory problems for the residents, as some 23 residents have referred to the hospitals.

Due to the intensity of PM concentration, some 50 villages in the city were surrounded by sandy soil, Bagheri said, adding, so far, some 16 villages are depopulated due to the severe PM concentration.

The Road Maintenance Organization has dispatched special groups to reopen the roads, he concluded.

FB/MG

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