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Iranian Government Declares Holiday Due To Pollution

Increased air pollution which has attained critical levels compelled the Iranian Government to declare two days of public holidays. All the organizations in the country will remain closed on// 7 and 8 December 2005. The primary, junior high schools, and kindergartens in Tehran have already been closed down by the Government, while the elderly and those who suffer from heart problems have been advised to remain indoors.

Many residents in downtown Tehran wore masks 6 December to protect themselves from severe pollution, which even blocked the view of the Elburz Mountains in the north. Tehran, which is 900 square kilometers in size, is one of the world's most polluted cities.

On weekdays, the population in the city reaches between 12 to 15 million, leading to traffic jams and pollution in the city center.

The start of the subway system in recent years has not helped solve the problem and only the expansion of the network and the removal cars older than 20 years could alleviate it, according to experts.

--IANS
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