Tehran Pollution Crisis 2012: Thousands Dead In Iran's Capital As Government ...
Hassan Aqajani, an adviser to Iran's health minister announced Sunday that 4,460 people have died from air pollution in Tehran in a one-year period since March 2011, AFP reports. The announcement came just as a five-day closure of government offices, schools, and banks because of air pollution came to an end -- the second such shutdown in a month.
Though the city has reopened its public buildings, officials are still urging residents to remain indoors, likening going outside in current conditions to "suicide," the New York Times notes.
The cloud of yellow smog enveloping Tehran has become an annual event in recent years, as sanctions on imports of refined gasoline have forced the country to turn to low-quality alternatives, exacerbating Iran's already tenuous environmental state. "It feels as if even God has turned against us," a local artist told The New York Times as the city's skyline remained obscured with smog.