With air pollution persisting in Tehran, authorities announced on the evening of Thursday January 3 that all schools, universities, banks and government offices in Tehran province will be closed on Saturday January 5.

The report adds that some on-call bank branches will remain open to address the public’s immediate banking needs on that day.

Meanwhile, all sports competitions and practices will be cancelled until Monday January 7.

An emergency committee consisting of the vice president, the head of the Environment Organization, the Tehran Province governor, the head of the Meteorology Organization, the deputy health minister and the head of Tehran Emergency services has been meeting to devise ways to tackle the air pollution problem.

The Tehran Governor told Mehr News Agency that the emissions have been remaining in the atmosphere and there has been no change in the past 72 hours. He added that it appears that the same low air quality will persist for the next 72 hours.

He went on to say that such public holidays are not the final solution for the air pollution problems, but in view of the fact that air-quality index has been consistently close to emergency levels, it is the best decision for now.

Tehran, Esfahan, Qom, Arak and a number of other Iranian cities have been facing school closures in the past week and restrictions on traffic due to the persistence of heavy air pollution.