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Photos: Tehran suffering from pollution spell

11/27/10 Source: Press TV, Tehran; photos by Rooholla Vahdati, ISNA

Iranian officials in Tehran have introduced further cuts in working hours as a blanket of pollutants continues to shroud the skies of the capital.

A workgroup committee for emergency cases of pollution in Tehran held a meeting on Friday to discuss the "alarming" level of pollution in city, IRNA reported.

The committee, attended by Tehran Governor Morteza Tamaddon, decided not to close any government institutions on the upcoming days, but to curtail working and school hours. Banks and medical centers are exceptions.

Stopping polluting vehicles and industries, a stricter reinforcement of traffic laws and stepping up local traffic restrictions were among the measures passed by the panel.

It also advised a cancellation of outdoor sports activities and urged the residents to avoid taking out their personal vehicles and use public transportation instead.

The decisions come two days after authorities declared a 24-hour public holiday for schools, offices and factories in Tehran following warnings by the state meteorology organization about high pollution levels earlier in the week.

Quarries and mines as well as tarmac and brick factories have been temporarily closed in the western and southern suburbs of the capital following the pollution hike.

The city's air pollution is mostly blamed on its increasing population, the growing number of cars and the geographical location of the metropolis, which is canned by a wall of mountains.

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