Iranian MP criticizes disregard towards Lake Urmia

Photo: Iranian MP criticizes disregard towards Lake Urmia / Iran

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 17/ Trend, N. Umid/

Iranian MP Nader Ghazipour criticized officials for disregarding the critical state of Lake Urmia, Mehr news agency reported.

"The Ministry of Energy has not fulfilled its obligations to restore the lake," Ghazipour said.

He added that, no funds were allocated for lake's restoration.

"Officials of the East Azerbaijan province just get credits from administration under the cover of the project of transferring water from the Araz River to Lake Urmia and it looks like they have not decided to save lake," he said.

The project for transfer of 600 million cubic meters of water from the Araz River to Lake Urmia was approved in 2010, during a visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and members of the government to Tabriz. Some $1.2 billion will be allocated for this project.

In September 2011, the Iranian government has allocated $900 million to prevent shallowing of the lake.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has allocated $135 million for Iran to address environmental issues of the shallowing Lake Urmia.

It should be noted that, in total the area of the Lake Urmia covers nearly 6,000 square kilometers. During the migration of birds, the lake becomes their temporary home. Because of the prolonged drought, Urmia becomes shallow, and this affects the flora and fauna of the region.

Experts on environmental issues say that the measures taken by the Iranian government to save the lake are insufficient.

Previously, general director of the Organization for Environmental Protection of the Iranian Province of West Azerbaijan Hassan Abbas Nejad has said that 3.1 billion cubic meters of water are needed annually to save Lake Urmia.

Iran's president-elect Hassan Rohani had pledged during his presidential campaign that, he will put restoring Lake Urmia on agenda on the first day if he is elected as the next president.

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