Can mayor’s push for ‘car-free Tuesdays’ tackle Tehran’s air pollution?

Al-Monitor – : Pirouz Hanachi is the third mayor of Tehran elected by the City Council in a period of less than seven months. As part of his drive to establish a closer connection with the city’s residents, Hanachi recently joined a campaign dubbed “car-free Tuesdays.” The campaign, originally launched in December 2015, has never become widely popular, remaining an unfulfilled dream mostly pursued by environmental activists. While the Tehran Municipality and Iran’s Department of Environment voiced support for the idea, they rarely took steps beyond words.

The campaign calls on Tehran residents to rely on public transportation to get to work on Tuesdays, with the aim of mitigating the city’s pollution and combating its complicated traffic jams.

One day before he was officially named Tehran’s mayor in late November, Hanachi joined the car-free Tuesday campaign in practice, urging his colleagues to follow suit as well. Then, just before his very first official working hours as mayor, he rode the bus to get to his office. The move is extraordinarily rare in a country where senior officials are routinely picked up for work in special government-owned vehicles with private drivers.

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