Schools closed again in south-west Iran due to dust storm
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 31
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Schools in Iran's south western Khuzestan province are closed on Jan. 31 as heavy dust enters fifth day.
Khuzestan provincial education department called off the morning school session in province's 13 cities including Ahwaz, the department's head, Mohammad Taghizadeh said, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.
The administration also may call off the afternoon session, the official said.
Schools already closed on Jan. 27 after worries arose over possible health problems the dust might create for students.
Abdolhasan Moghtadaei, the Khuzestan province governor said that the source of the recent pollution is domestic and is linked to drought in recent months.
It was earlier reported that the dust came from neighboring Iraq.
Spraying mulch on deserts in the province is necessary for stabilization of the sand dunes, Moghtadaei said, adding no measure was taken so far and the problem remains unresolved.
Dust has reached 15 times above the normal level in the cities of Ahwaz, Abadan, Dezful, and Dasht Azadegan, in the province, according to the Khuzestan's meteorology department.
Kourosh Bahadori, the director of the department, said on Jan. 28 that dust has reached 2,335 micrograms per cubic meter, which is 15 times above the normal level.
In recent years, dust storms in the western part of Iran have grown in frequency and density. It has on occasions caused people serious respiratory problems, sometimes even forcing them to seek hospital care.
The dust in the air is believed to be the result of dust being carried by atmospheric circulation from lands to the west of Iran.
Some have blamed the desertification of lagoons in Iraq and the strong winds from the deserts of Saudi Arabia for the blanket of dust reaching Iranian cities.
In 2009, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement according to which Iraq should have poured oil derivative mulch on deserts; however the agreement was never fulfilled.
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