Official says pollution killed 4,460 in Tehran in a year
Air pollution has killed 4,460 people in the capital in a year, an Iranian health official said, with another sounding the alarm over levels of carcinogens in domestically refined petrol.
Hassan Aqajani, an adviser to the health minister, speaking on state television, said the Tehran residents died in the year from March 2011.
"In recent days, the number of patients who have visited Tehran hospitals with heart problems has increased by 30 per cent," Aqajani said.
Pollution is exacerbated by increasing reliance on domestic production of petrol of a lower grade, and therefore more polluting, a by-product of Western sanctions on Iran's fuel imports.
Youssef Rashidi, director of Tehran's air-quality monitoring services, on Sunday warned that carcinogen levels in Iranian-made petrol were higher than international standards.
"Based on Euro 4 standard the amount of carcinogens in petrol should be less than 1 per cent but the level of our domestically produced petrol is between 2 per cent and 3 per cent," Rashidi said in remarks reported by the Bahar daily newspaper.
The level of sulphur in the petrol was three times higher than the acceptable European standard, he said.
Officials have promised to increase the production of higher-grade petrol with Euro 4 and 5 standards, used in European countries, from nine million litres per day to about 25 million litres by March this year.