Dust storms take Rouhani to southern province

February 24, 2017

TEHRAN – Recent dust storms took President Rouhani to southern Iran where repeated electricity and water outages threw normal life out of gear in 11 cities of Khuzestan province, including provincial capital Ahvaz.

During his visit to the province, which took the brunt of the unbreathable, unhealthy weather, Rouhani pledged to complete water and sewer projects and unveiled a backup electricity system for Ahvaz’s water treatment facilities.
He also said planting vegetation has already started in the area.

High humidity, coupled with heavy dust storms, hit the area for days, causing five power plants to stop operation.

Accompanied by several cabinet members, Rouhani also promised to start a project in 15 days to collect gas flares operating in the oil-rich area in an effort to reduce poisonous gases which cause acid rain and respiratory complications.

Rouhani also criticized, inter alia, dam construction by neighboring countries such as Turkey and Iraq for dust storms over the past years that dried up Hour-al-Azim wetland in Khuzestan.

“While we are unhappy with the occurrence of dust storms, this does not discourage us to address it,” he promised.  
A budget of nearly $8 million has been allocated to fight the challenge in the short-term, incommensurate with the scope of the issue, the president explained.

The province has had its fair share of dust storms over the past 16 years and domestic resources account for 35 percent of dusts raised in the area.

Part of the challenge is due to lack of consideration for environmental concerns.

Construction and industrial projects in the area for long were implemented with total disregard for water resources and environmental damage.

Stricter measures have been taken to prevent further costs.

AK/PA 

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