Iran’s Department of the Environment and the Municipality of Tehran have expressed concern regarding the overt use of disposable containers by local mourning organizations during the Shia ceremonies of Ashura.

Official statistics indicate that Iranians use anywhere between 1.2 to 4.2 million tons of disposable containers each year.

The use of disposable containers peaks during the month of Muharram, along with the ceremonies of Ashura, when food is distributed among mourners. The monthly average of 200,000 tons of plastic containers jumps by 30 percent during Ashura.

According to the Department of the Environment, the entire amount enters the environment as waste.

Tehran City Council has also expressed concern about the high volume of plastic containers used across the capital and called on the municipality to come up with new forms of food consumption to counter the problem.

Tehran has no recycling mechanisms in place for the plastic containers, which have become a cheap and convenient way for food sellers to package their offerings.