Iran, Armenia prioritizing documented evidence in treating Araz River

Business Materials 31 July 2015 16:47 (UTC +04:00)

Tehran, Iran, July 31

By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:

An official with the Iranian Environment Department has said the country is taking measures to rely evermore on documented evidence in approaching river treatment and protection, especially in the case of the Araz River.

Araz is a river in and along the countries of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. It drains to the south side of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains and then joins the Kura River, which drains to the north side of those mountains.

Recently there were worrying reports that the river's pollution has caused health issues in nearby areas and that Iran has started a special monitoring operation of the river.

Iranian MP Kamaladdin Pirmoazen said in early July that waste material from Armenia's Metsamor nuclear power plant and aluminum plant pollutes the river and pose threats to the wildlife and people living in the surrounding areas.

Iran and Armenia have boosted mutual cooperation on monitoring the river, witnessed by the launch of a joint committee for decision-making regarding the river, Shina Ansari, director of Pervasive Monitoring at Iran's Department of Environment told Trend July 29.

She added the joint committee has prioritized gathering documented evidence on the sources of pollution affecting the river.

Last year Iran bought three highly advanced and very expensive devices for testing the heavy metal and pesticide content of the river's water in three provinces of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, and Ardabil which are situated along the river, Ansari stated.

However, she reminded, the Department of Environment monitors the river in terms of more traditional pollutions, and issues like radioactive pollution are defined by the law as the task of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Ansari made these remarks in reaction to reports that nuclear waste from Armenia dumped into Araz River has caused serious health problems for people living in lands along the river.

Mohammad Javad Soroush, director of the Iranian Environment Department's Water and Soil Office said early July that there have been reports claiming nuclear and aluminum waste from the neighboring country Armenia is spilled into the river and has caused a hike in cancer rates in people living around the river.

Edited by CN