Baku, Azerbaijan, May 12
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
Iran's south eastern Zabol city ranks first among the most polluted cities in the world, according to a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) May 12.
Zabol was the world's worst city in terms of air pollution, measured by the amount of particulate matter under 2.5 micrograms in each cubic meter of air, which was 217 micrograms per cubic meter.
The next most polluted cities where Indian Gwalior (176 microgram/cubic meters) and Allahabad (170 microgram/cubic meters) cities and Saudi Arabia's Riyadh (156 microgram/cubic meters) and Al Jubail (152 microgram/cubic meters) cities.
The WHO database covers 3000 cities in 103 countries.
Over seven million premature deaths occur every year due to air pollution, with three million of them due to outdoor air quality, according to the WHO.
Air pollution can cause lung cancer, strokes and heart disease, as well as trigger symptoms such as heart attacks that kill more rapidly.
In recent years, particulate matter pollution in the western part of Iran has grown in frequency and density. It has on occasions caused people serious respiratory problems, sometimes even forcing them to seek hospital care.
The pollution is believed to be the result of dust being carried by atmospheric circulation 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.