Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 18
By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:
Masoumeh Ebtekar, head of Iran's Environment Protection Organization said measures are being taken to tackle the drought at Hurolazim Lagoon in Khuzestan Province that recently caused severe dust storm in the area, Tasnim news agency reported Feb. 18.
Speaking at a press conference in Khuzestan's capital Ahvaz, Ebtekar said that her trip to the area was meant to find the real cause of the dust storm.
"One of the causes for dust storms in the country is the drought that has dragged on through recent years causing lagoons to dry out. The construction of the Gotvand Dam and drilling at Hurolazim Lagoon to extract oil are some of the violations committed that also contributed to the situation," she noted.
Ebtekar said however that drilling at the lagoon cannot be stopped, and the organization is seeking ways to reduce the environmental hazards that the drilling is causing.
"Measures were taken two months ago to water the area's lagoons, the result of which was to open the water to Hurolazim," she said.
The official added that seven organizations are involved in the case of the dust storm, and are going to hold a conference next Iranian calendar year (starting Mar. 21) to address the issue.
She further said that seeding clouds would only solve 10 percent of the problem, and called for finding and tackling the real causes behind the crisis.
Studies show that the main source of the dust falls outside the country, but domestic factors also worsen the situation.
The official further added that in the current Iranian year (Mar. 21, 2014 to Mar. 20, 2015) 150 billion rials (27500 rials making USD1) was spent on devices measuring air pollution.
The dust storm swept western Iran a couple of weeks ago and hit Khuzestan Province worst. As a result, local schools, universities, and governmental offices were closed, literally crippling life in the area.
In recent years, dust storms in the western part of Iran have grown in frequency and density. They have on occasions caused people serious respiratory problems.
Edited by CN