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  04 Jul 2022, 19:40

Iran shuts offices and schools as sandstorm hits Tehran

TEHRAN, July 4, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Iranian officials closed government offices, 
courts, schools and universities in Tehran on Monday after a severe sandstorm 
hit the capital, state media reported.

"The air pollution emergency committee of Tehran province has ordered the 
closure of all administrative offices and public educational centres today 
due to the spread of dust," state news agency IRNA said.

Visibility was severely limited in Tehran, a city of more than eight million 
people.

The neighbouring province of Alborz, located west of the capital, also 
announced the closure of all offices, banks and scientific and educational 
centres, state television said.

It reported an "increase in the concentration of atmospheric pollutants and 
dust" in the air.

While the region has always been battered by sandstorms, dust clouds have 
become more frequent and intense in recent years.

The trend is linked to climate change and associated with overgrazing and 
deforestation, as well as the overuse of river water and more dams.

In April, Tehran's Air Quality Control Society said dust clouds originated 
from "countries to the west of Iran".

Iran's western neighbour Iraq has been hit by severe sandstorms, with air 
pollution in recent months there sending thousands to hospitals with 
respiratory problems.

Iranian authorities also blamed sand quarries west of Tehran that they said 
are making the situation worse.

Tehran's Metrological Organisation warn that waves of dust clouds are 
expected to sweep across parts of the city for the next five days.
 

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