Iran’s Urmia Lake being turned into a hub of dust storm
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 8
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
Urmia Lake in northwestern Iran is being turned into a hub of dust storm in the Middle East, said Hojjat Jabbari, an official with Iran's West Azerbaijan Province's Environment Protection Organization.
There are several hubs of dust storms in the Middle East, he said, adding that Urmia Lake is being turned into a new hub of dust storm, Iran's IRNA news agency reported on June 8.
Five spots inside the lake have been identified as the main sources of dust storm, he noted.
The dust storm spots exist along 19 kilometers around the lake, he said. More than 747,000 people are living 30 kilometers far from the lake.
Dust storms have badly affected the quality of air in West Azerbaijan Province.
Lake Urmia is experiencing its worst drought in many years, where over 90 percent of its area has dried up. The level has been declining since 1995.
Officials have warned if serious steps are not taken, the lake will be turned into a swamp within a few years, which will force millions of Iranians to migrate to greener pastures.
Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani set up a working group for saving Lake Urmia, the Committee for Urmia Lake Restoration.
The committee prepared a 9-year plan to restore the lake, with 2023 being the year targeted for the lake's complete restoration.