Investigating the Health and Environmental Effects of Suspended Particles in Tehran
Suspended particles of PM 10 and PM 25 are referred to a complicated mixture of very small particles and liquid drops that enter atmosphere through numerous activities such as fossil fuels, volcanic eruption, agriculture activities, storm and atmospheric streams and endanger people’s health by creating air pollution.
The issue of air pollution that results from suspended particles of Tehran is a major environmental concern of this city. As the major population center and the capital of Iran, the city of Tehran is located in southern slopes of Alborz Mountain and north margin of central dessert of Iran in fairly smooth land that is surrounded by these mountains from the north.
The mountains prevent the contaminants to exit from south to north. On the other hand, due to weakness of wind blowing and increasing urban traffic and industrial contaminants, with entries of microgrids by winds streams of west to east of Iran that mainly blow from west and north-west, at times in the year, the intensity of these contaminants reach to a point that disrupt living condition and bring about irreparable threats and damages in terms of health, environmental, economic and social problems for residents.
With respect to the devastating effect of suspended particles on urban environment, specifically in terms of individual’s health, identification of diffusion sources and their effects are essential elements in decreasing and controlling particles’ diffusion in urban areas.
In this report, by analyzing the ten years trend of the amount of suspended particle diffusion in the metropolis of Tehran between the years of 2003 to 2013, the effects of these particles on the health of Tehran residents were investigated as well.
Keywords: urban environment, fatality, suspended particle, air pollution
Air pollution that is resulted from humans and biological activities, have become mixed with today’s modern life. This is while development of cities and population growth have led to the increase in industrial units and turned into serious and debatable issue.
The significance of this issue is increased when the pollution threatens public welfare and health and caused exacerbation of respiratory symptoms and prevalence of different types of cancers (Kavousi et al., 2013).
Urban development along population growth and increasing use of fossil fuels have resulted in environmental pollution, specifically air pollution in the metropolis of Tehran. One of the most important air contaminants in Tehran is suspended particles.
With regard to the devastating effect of these particles on urban environment, this report has made an attempt to introduce and analyze their effects on urban environment. In the following, statement of the problems, significance of the study, research objectives and questions will be stated.
Statement of the problem
Urban population growth, motor vehicle traffic, misuse of heating instruments and urban enlargement are among the characteristics of the current era that have caused air pollution.
The scientific studies of the past two decades have indicated that particles are among the major contaminants from public health perspective. The World Health Organization has reported the death of 7 million individuals as a result of air pollution in 2012 (WHO, 2014).
Furthermore, according to International Cancer Research Foundation, the air pollution and suspended particles are regarded as carcinogen combination for humans. This issue has turned into an environmental problem in the city of Tehran.
Therefore, analyzing the issue of air pollution, specifically the suspended particles, and providing operational solutions as well as reducing actions can save millions of lives.
Significance of the study
The air is a necessity for living. In this sense, it can be said that an individual can survive without food for a couple of weeks, but cannot live without air for more than a few minutes.
The fast urban population growth resulted in unplanned development of cities and changed the supply and demand model for transportation, energy and other basic requirements of urban life. These factors are somehow exacerbating the problems of air pollution. However, the quality of air in urban regions depends on other factors such as air stream, topographic location, and the amount of diffused particles from different sources as well.
Although first air particles such as gases that arise from swamps and dust of storms related to arid regions had natural sources, analyzing the changing trend in the quality and quantity of air particles demonstrates that with exception to critical issues such as volcanic interruptions, the pollutants resulting from natural resources do not create important problems to the environment and people’s health.
Nevertheless, the contaminants that have been created as a result of human activities can exacerbate this issue to the point that the continuation of life for the people and other living creatures becomes impossible. This issue is indicative of the fact that the threatening factor of today’s societies is urbanization and industrialization that have caused huge population become concentrated in small regions.
By considering the increase in the standards of living, people often require one or two cars. Automobile production and usage are important factors in air pollution. Therefore, urbanization, improving the life’s standards and industrial development to fulfill new needs have altogether resulted in the increase in the pollution density to a critical level.
Objectives of the study
• Estimating the health and environmental effects of suspended particles in the city of Tehran
Other related objectives
• Identification of different types of suspended particles, their components and diffusion sources
• Identification of environmental effects of suspended particles on urban environment, specifically citizens’ health
• Arriving at optimal solutions to reduce the suspended particles and their effects