Ahwaz officials say the concentration of dust particles in the city’s air has risen to over 24 times the acceptable level.

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IRNA reports that officials from the Ahwaz Department of the Environment announced on Tuesday February 23 that the level of dust particles in the city’s air was measured at 3,570 micrograms per cubic metre at noon. At 11 AM, the dust particles were at 1,582 micrograms per cubic metre. A maximum of 150 micrograms of dust particles per cubic metre is considered acceptable.

Schools and offices in Ahwaz were closed yesterday due to air quality, and the city is under emergency warning as the pollution is considered hazardous to the health of population groups.

While the source of the dust storms is said to be located outside of Iran, the drying out of the country’s many lakes and wetlands and a water crisis is beginning to exacerbate the problem.