Baku, Azerbaijan, June 29
By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Salt particles emerging from drying Lake Urmia, in northwestern Iran, are causes of cancer and high blood pressure among people in the region, said Armin Nourbakhsh, an official with the Committee for Urmia Lake Restoration.
Salt particles threaten the health of people living around the lake seriously and cause problems such as eye burns, lung cancer, skin diseases, and high blood pressure, Iran 's ISNA news agency quoted Nourbakhsh as saying June 29.
Although there is no specific study or report about diseases arising from drying of Lake Urmia, but data shows that certain problems, such as eye burn, are rampant among people in the city of Tabriz, he said.
The issue has caused security problems, as people living in border province are considering migration to other countries, he noted.
Hojjat Jabbari, an official with Iran 's West Azerbaijan Province 's Environment Protection Organization, said on June 8 that Lake Urmia is being turned into a hub of dust storm in the Middle East. Five spots inside the lake have been identified as the main sources of dust storm. The dust storm spots exist along 19 kilometers around the lake, he said. More than 747,000 people are living within 30 kilometers of the lake.
Dust storms have badly affected the quality of air in West Azerbaijan Province. Urmia Lake 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.
Edited by CN