Tehran shut down due to pollution

Schools, businesses and factories closed down today in the Iranian capital, Tehran, because of high air pollution levels.

The Iranian government called a 24-hour public holiday in a bid to lower dangerous levels, according to the state run news agency.

This is not the first time a public holiday has been announced due to environmental problems such as pollution or sandstorms.

Tehran suffers particularly from the effects of pollution as it is surrounded by mountains and the lack of rain has further exacerbated the problem.

Tehran has 12 million residents and more than two million vehicles, and is among the world's most polluted cities. The pollution leads to thousands of deaths a year through respiratory problems and heart attacks.

The capital will have a three-day holiday as Thursday is a religious holiday and Friday is a weekend day in Iran. The day's closure is reported as costing $130m (£82m due to loss of business, according to AP news agency. Alison Brown


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