Growing Concerns Over Environmental Crisis in Northwest Iran
Lake Oroumieh is one of the world’s largest salt lakes and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The lake is rapidly drying up amid growing concerns over an urgent environmental crisis unfolding in Northwestern Iran.
The London-based Association of Iranian Researchers (“Association des Chercheurs Iraniens” or ACI) in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, dated 30 August 2011, has described the urgency of the crisis. Following are some passages from the ACI letter:
Lake Oroumieh, the world’s third largest salt lake and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is drying up at an alarming rate due to drought, misguided irrigation policies, development and the irresponsible damming of rivers that feed it.
Mentioned as early as 9th century BC in Assyrian text, the lake serves as a natural divide between the major cities of Oroumieh and Tabriz in the provinces of East and West Azerbaijan. It holds 31 billion cubic meters of water with a catchments area of 51876 square kilometers.
A major tourist attraction and national park, the Lake’s 102 rocky islands are home to migrating birds; 27 types of mammals, 212 types of birds, 41 types of reptiles, 7 types of amphibians and 26 types of fish.
Today, there are threats of serious and irreversible damage to Lake Oroumieh, with no real measures to prevent the human and environmental degradation. Since early 1990s, decision makers have not been accountable for policies that have created the present day crisis.
In the recent months environmental activists and ordinary members of public who have protested against these erroneous policies have been arrested and detained in an effort to silence the protest. 300 people have been arrested in the last few days.
Here is an issue which is not nuclear, not "terrorism" related, not related to US/West/Israel national security, ... and is purely environmental and climate related. Perfect opportunity for a goodwill gesture by US and Europe, no preconditions, nothing asked. Who wants to bet that the West will put a step forward to help Iran with this problem?
How one can justify arresting 300 people for a peaceful non political environment issue. This is not even election yet.
The regime is paranoid full stop and is dugging its own grave.
When I was in Iran couple of weeks ago, I noticed that in my home town and surroundings there were rivers that had dried up. Irresponsible dam building without due regards to its impact has resulted in many rivers drying up. This is pretty obvious from Urumiah to Isfahan. This is not the issue of blaming regime. This is pure irresponsibility on the part of ministry of environment where no proper impact analysis is carried out.
Rivers are dried up and debris and rubbish dumping have turned rivers into serious health hazards. In villages, herd of sheep are grazing on rubbish and plastic bags and in town stray dogs are doing the job.
The problem is that untangling these environment messes will take years and will involve massive investment and lakr Urumiah is a fascinating example of large scale environment impact of such policies.
Government policies have not helped either. By isolating itself from World communities (through supporting terrorist states and no interaction with nations with advanced technology), it has managed to shoot itself in the foot. There is really no exchange of technical knowledge and collaboration. Iranian Universities and educational system cannot provide answers as they are miles behind their Western counterpart. Those with ambitions are trying to get out ASAP and the best of brains are locked in prisons. What else do you expect?
This problem or mess was created by the incompetent and destructive regime itself.
When you have a "government" which dams all the rivers in the name of progress and boasting that they are the second biggest dam builders after China in the world what do you expect the US or the West to do?
If the West does mention or say anything regarding this issue the regime will claim that they impede their progress.
This environmental catastrophe can only be resolved by the creators themselves namely the Islamic regime.
Can you tell us why the US or Europe should help the current Iranian government which is so hostile toward the west. They can ask their good friends the Chineese and the Russians!
What do you expect from a dictatorship and an incompetent government? When these people belive that the "hidden imam" is in charge, and they ask people to pray for rain in the Friday prayer's sessions then there is no point to do anything to save the enviornment from disaster after disaster.
Pretty soon there wont be an Iran left by the time the regime has it's way !
So Ali come on tell us why should the West pick up the rubbish that this fascist dictatorship has produced itself ?
Dams always have been a double sided sword. They hold back the water in their reservoir and produce electrical energy by releasing it slowly, but at times they also dry up the riverbeds behind them.
Especially in arid climates a lot of their water evaporates due to the vast surface of the reservoir.
Nontheless, there are more advantages of having a reservoir. For example it augments water supply security during droughts, rescueing the lifestock and agriculture as it allows watering and irrigation for a prolonged time.
Thus, constructing a dam is always a compromise between advantages and disadvantages, and one has to carefully weigh them against possible environmental impact.
Whatever we do, it will always produce an environmental impact.
"Rivers are dried up and debris and rubbish dumping have turned rivers into serious health hazards. In villages, herd of sheep are grazing on rubbish and plastic bags and in town stray dogs are doing the job."
Welcome to development. You think Iran could remain in its natural state while being a 21st century country? The pollution and environmental damage will only get worse until it matches western cities.
Anon 8:36 AM
That incompetent and destructive so called government is deliberately destroying the environment!
They build cement factories in forested areas and cement over rice fields cut trees for building construction.
Iran has lost over 35 per cent of it's forests it's rivers and lakes are dried up because of over zealous and misguided policies by this stupid theocratic greedy lying fascist regime!
Anon 8:36 AM....Iran will never be a 21 century country under the rickety rule of the retarded and backward mullahcracy only a seventh century crane hanging stone throwing finger chopping women oppressing anti democratic anti Iranian criminal rabble of a theocracy.
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