Iran’s monitoring of Araz River a routine, relation to health issues needs more data

Business Materials 29 July 2015 16:54 (UTC +04:00)

Tehran, Iran, July 29
By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:

An Iranian official says the country's monitoring of the Araz River comes as a part of a routine monitoring program defined by the Environment Organization.

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.

Mohammad Javad Soroush, director of the Iranian Environment Organization's Water and Soil Office said early July that the Environment Department of Ardabil Province, northern Iran , has been given the mission to monitor the river for pollutants. He said the monitoring mission comes in response to reports that 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.

As for monitoring Araz River , there has been a regulation passed in 2010 which orders the launch of a special committee for monitoring the river, Shina Ansari, director of Pervasive Monitoring at the Organization of Environment told Trend July 29.
Monitoring concerns five areas of microbes, heavy metals, chemicals and hyd

rocarbons, pesticides and fertilizers, as well as the hydro-chemical parameters of the water, according to Ansari.

"We carry out periodical samplings in three northwest Iranian provinces of East Azarbaijan, West Azarbaijan, and Ardabil . The Regional Water Company and the Ministry of Energy also conduct similar monitoring operations in their areas of concern," she said.

"As for reports about a hike in cancer rates, the monitoring would be within the province of the Ministry of Health since it is a health issue. However, the Environment Organization provides the Health Ministry with data that would be of use. But more data is needed to prove the relation."

The Pervasive Monitoring office, according to the director, has special programs for identifying pollution sources and devising plans to reduce the pollution.

"We identify and classify pollution sources along the Araz River from Turkey to Armenia . The data provided, plus those gathered by the Ministry of Energy, are jointly used in decision-makings. For example, during the cultivation season we monitor pollution related to pesticides and fertilizers.

Or, because there are copper mines in some areas in the vicinity of the river, in those locations heavy metal tests are carried out," she stated.

Head of the Organization of Environment Masoumeh Ebtekar on February 26 expressed concern about the industrial pollution of Araz River generated in Armenia , asking for the neighboring country to take measures to stop a catastrophe.

Armenia claimed it had built a wastewater recycling plant beside the Zangezur copper factory in February 2014 to prevent the river's pollution, but the industrial pollution of river has continued into the present.

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