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Air Pollution Endangering Isfahan's Historic Relics

TEHRAN, Iran, January 15, 2000 (Tehran Times) -- Environment pollutants in Isfahan's air pose a threat to historic buildings and relics in the city, Director of Isfahan's Environment Protection Center, Mahdi Kahnamouei, told the reporters.

Referring to the forthcoming Clean Air Day, Kahnamouei told the reporters that excessive expansion of urban population and automobiles, absence of an efficient transport network and inadequate coordination between different executive organizations, have turned Isfahan into one of the seven most polluted cities of Iran.

He added that about 60 percent of the total population of the province are concentrated in a mere 6 percent of its total area. Kahnamouei said, "Information obtained from air monitoring instruments indicate high levels of ecological pollutants such as suspended particles and dangerous gases in the air.

Besides human factors, the dry climate, adjacency to deserts and the inversion phenomenon during the cold season, all reduce natural cleansing of pollutants in Isfahan.

Pollutants have already reached alarming levels in Isfahan.

More than 70 percent of the pollution is attributed to automobiles, he said, adding extensive plans and coordination between all responsible authorities are required to fight the menace.

Necessary measures may include stopping smoke-emitting vehicles, adjusting industry to conform with acceptable ecological standards and the implementation of rules and regulations for safeguarding the environment.

" The director of Isfahan's Environment Protection Center also warned that a majority of domestically manufactured cars and some imported motorbikes do not conform with ecologic standards and may increase the country's pollution problem.