Tehran sits as the capital Iran, covering a total area of about 450 square miles with the city’s North and East being surrounded by mountains. Tehran is facing an increasing air pollution issue due to urban and industrial development and an increasing population. This independent study will introduce a brief summary of the air pollution situation, regulations, management systems and standards, followed by a description of implemented air pollution reduction measures. This will include causes for delays in the action plan’s time schedule that was approved by the Iranian government, summed up by suggested parameters for solving the issue and minimize failure experiences.
Population Increase and Urban Development
Tehran is a major industrial and economical city. Its air pollution is mainly increasing due to rapid rise in population and industrial development. 30 years ago, more than 95% of the city’s population resided in the Municipality of Tehran (MOT), but these numbers have recently decreased to 65% with 30% now residing in the suburbs. The strongest growth period was seen in 1960-1970, during which time the city’s population growth was over 200,000 persons per year.
The MOT lies under the supervision of Tehran’s city council, appointed by general election. The council members then appoints the Mayor of the city. Five branches of the MOT are related to total quality management of air pollution control (4 companies, 1 organization):
- Air Quality Control Company (AQCC)
- Relocation and Systemizing of Urban Industrial and Trade Occupation Company (RSUITOC)
- Tehran Traffic Control Company (TTCC)
- Tehran Vehicle Technical Inspection Bureau (TVTIB)
- Tehran Traffic and Transportation Organization (TTTO)
TQM responsibility of air pollution falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environment (DOE). According to research data collected by the DOE and AQCC, the city is one of the worst in the world in terms of urban air pollution, with mobile emission sources being worse than stationary. A third-party study from JICA showed about 70% of current air pollution is produced from mobile sources. With an increase in urbanization and energy consumption, the air pollution related to stationary emission sources will also continue to increase.
The Municipality Act, passed by parliament in 1955, includes one item agenda relating to air pollution control (stationary emission sources) with the DOE being established in 1973 in accordance with environmental law. A Clean Air Act was passed in 1995, which classifies the air pollution sources into three groups:
- Motor vehicles
- Power plants, factories and workshops
- Business and miscellaneous domestic sources
According to Clean Air Act, following regulations were implemented:
- All importers and producers of 4 stroke engine motorbikes must comply with ECE-40-01 standards
- Time schedule for implementation of above item to be changed by recognition of the DOE
- The DOE has as duty to reconsider every three years the aforementioned standard in compliance with the Ministry of Oil (MOO) and the Ministry of Industry (MOI)
Major concerns of MOT transportation sector are as follow:
- Increasing public transportation capacity
- Public persuasion towards public transport
- A change in fuel sources of buses from low gas-oil to natural gas
- Annual inspection of all vehicles
- Increase the numbers of intelligent traffic signals
- Installation of parking meters on the city center’s roadsides
- A common ticket system for public transport to simplify passenger changes
While the proposed laws and regulation standards are theoretically sufficient, the problem is actual implementation. The effectiveness is not properly acceptable, because of budget deficiencies and a lack of communication and interaction between related parties. Also, public compliance according to set standards is too low, with more education and awareness on the subject of air pollution and its relation to human health required.
Quality Management Flaws
There’s a lack of a managing system with sufficient authority to enforce related parties to implement their specific duties according to scheduled action plan. Shortage of budget delays the transition from older vehicles to more environmentally efficient, reducing pollution from mobile sources. The first priority of MOT is quantity and quality development of the industrial sector, with meeting emission standards as second priority. DOE personnel lack required expertise in dealing with industrial inspections, type approval and production of vehicles regulations. There’s a clear deficit of close interaction between related authorities responsible for duty implementation of the action plan. More suitable and wide-spread programs for public awareness and education regarding air pollution impacts are needed. No approval system to participate citizen, NGO, enterprises or universities is in place.
By Own Resources
It is vital for the MOT to put the action plan in first priority as the completion of its related projects will take longer time than initially proposed. The completion of underground traffic lines, a change of fuel sources, completion of a citywide ITS system, creation of parking spaces and construction of a integrated inspection maintenance system will require a bigger budget than the current $750 million that are made available each year.
By Other Resources
The MOT can carry out needed projects in cooperation with domestic private sectors, international investment parties and loans. Public awareness relating to the issue could be integrated with other Ministries and organizations could alleviate the lack of powerful management, lack of budget and shortage of expertise. A wider network would have an easier time implementing the action plan, starting with introduction and execution of the standards regarding inspection maintenance.