Landfill Near Tehran’s Khomeini Airport Is 60 Meters High, City Official Says

Polluted water leaking from garbage trucks transporting 8,000 tons of waste from Greater Tehran’s 22 districts, city hospitals, and various companies to the Arad Kouh Waste Process and Disposal Complex in Kahrizak — close to the Imam Khomeini International Airport — is posing severe health hazards to residents, Hassan Khalilabadi, a member of Tehran City Council, has said.

“The awful smell of the garbage dump, which is near the airport, scares off many foreign visitors. Just imagine how those tourists who visit the city for the first time must feel when they smell the unpleasant odor of rotting trash as soon as they step off the plane,” Mr. Khalilabadi was quoted by the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) as saying. “President [Hassan Rouhani] has ordered the relocation of the landfill site, but nothing has been done so far.”

“Some 100 heavy 60-ton garbage trucks dump their loads at this site three times a day,” Khalilabadi added. “The problem is not limited to the landfill but also to the trucks leaking polluted water onto the pavement. The city’s mostly wet waste is separated at the dumpsite, which spreads over an area of 100 hectares and reaches 60 meters high.”

“Besides household trash, the landfill contains animal feces and medical waste which pose even greater health risks to the residents,” Khalilabadi warned. “Everyone should do their part in improving environmental conditions. It would be helpful if every household were to separate their trash before putting it outside for collection. Also, some dry waste is recyclable and could be sold, which is an added incentive for people to take greater care when dumping their garbage.”

In an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) in July 2018, Keyumars Kalantari, the director of Tehran’s Department of Environment said  city authorities had “identified 28 sites around the Imam Khomeini Airport which emitted a foul stench, including livestock farms, slaughterhouses, unlicensed trash incineration facilities, and Arad Kouh waste dump.”

“Four sites have successfully dealt with the bad odor problem at their facilities. Many others have made significant improvements by installing air filters and trash processing equipment,” Mr. Kalantari added.

In comments reported by ISNA in March of this year, the Governor-General of Tehran, Anoushirvan Mohseni-Bandpey, said the foul smell produced by some 28 sites around the Khomeini Airport had been lingering in the air for 30 years.

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]