Earlier this week in the capital of Iran, elementary-level schools were shut down do to high air for a total of three days. To diminish air smog, alternate-day driving is a rule based on license plate numbers in the city, but that doesn't reduce the levels enough, nor reduce the heavy traffic. Currently, Iran has among four of the top ten most polluted cities on earth, due to the oil industry exports. In 2012, an estimated 4,500 premature deaths were caused by pollution in Tehran. The nearby city of Ahvaz is also oil-rich and experiencing similiar issues with air pollution levels as Tehran.Thousands of people living in Ahvaz were hospitalized last week due to high pollution levels.
Here in the U.S., our consumer-level of oil has put it at high demand from oil-producing nations such as Iran. This is an instance of modern-day dependency theory, in which the U.S. as a post-industrial nation is causing destruction in Iran as it uses its oil resource. Efforts should be made by the U.S. to lower pollution levels in countries like Iran from which they demand goods that cause high pollution levels. At the same time, Iran has a comparative advantage over other nations in the oil industry and the nation, of course, needs a good export in the market of free trade. Regardless of reason or motivation, pollution levels that are so high that schools needed to be shut down for three days is a desperate situation. Officials in the Iranian government and the U.S. government should work to decrease pollution levels from nearby factories by reducing emissions and moving factories away from the cities. The efforts to boost public transport has been ineffective and officials will need to produce a more viable solution in order for the air pollution to be put under control.