|Iran, Iraq to discuss issue of dust storms||
TEHRAN – The director of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization has travelled to Iraq to discuss the issue of dust storms with Iraqi officials, the deputy director of the organization, Ali Mohammad Shaeri, told the Persian service of IRNA on Tuesday.
Shaeri also said that Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh will hold talks with Iraqi officials in order to push for the implementation of previous agreements between the two countries on the issue of dust storms and work out new agreements in this regard.
He said that the measures taken by the Iraqi government have not been enough to resolve the issue.
He went on to say that the projects to plant trees and revive ponds are underway, but the process of the implementation of the plans is too slow, adding that he is hopeful that new agreements will help expedite the process of dealing with the issue.
Experts say dust storms descend on Iran from the deserts and dried-up ponds of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Many ponds which were once located in the arid and desert regions stretching from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea to Iran have gone dry over the years.
This ongoing desertification process has greatly increased the number of dust storms in the region, and every year heavy dust storms envelope more than half of the country.
In 2009, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement according to which Iraq should have poured oil derivative mulch on deserts, but Iraq did not fulfill its commitment.
On July 4, one hundred and fifty Iranian lawmakers issued a statement calling on the administration to take the measures necessary to tackle the issue of dust storms which have affected 23 provinces in the country.
The MPs wrote that certain relevant officials are not serious enough to address the fact that the amount of floating dust particles in the air in the affected provinces is much higher than the permitted level, making citizens’ lives a misery.
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