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Iran adopts 10-year plan to fight pollution

TEHRAN, Iran, January 3, 2000 (AP) -- Iran has adopted a 10-year plan to reduce air pollution in the capital, Tehran, the Iran News reported Monday. The plan, which went into effect Sunday, includes proposals to spruce up the city's public transportation network and phase out old vehicles, the English-language paper said. Most of the cars in Tehran are more than 20 years old and lack the exhaust filters of modern vehicles.

Officials decided on the plan after pollution reached dangerous levels in Tehran over the past few weeks, forcing elderly men and women as well as children to stay indoors and others to don masks, the paper said. Last month, the government shut down kindergartens and elementary schools and closed off the city center to motorists for several days.

Also Monday, a committee formed to monitor air pollution said pollution levels were expected to increase over the next few days. Residents in the capital were advised to remain indoors during the day.