Air pollution in Ahwaz has grown five times worse since Tuesday’s air quality registers led to school closures, forcing them remain shut.

Hospital emergency rooms have reported an unprecedented rise in the number of patients arriving with respiratory problems, while the head of the Khuzestan Department of the Environment reported that they are no longer able to gauge the level of dust particles in the air, because the measurement has gone beyond the range of their equipment.

This means the concentration of dust particles in Ahwaz air is now more than 66 times the acceptable level. 

Last July, Iran bought equipment from Russia to reduce dust particles in Khuzestan. The equipment has now been installed along Khuzestan’s border with Iraq and was supposed to reduce the dust particles by seven percent; however, it seems to have been ineffective.

According to Ministry of Health reports, 80,000 people died in Iran last year from the effects of air pollution and dust particles.