Regional countries agree to address issue of dust storms

September 30, 2010

TEHRAN - Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Qatar have signed an agreement to address the issue of dust storms.

The five regional countries signed the pact, in which they agreed to cooperate to bring dust storms under control over the next five years, at an environmental conference in Tehran on Wednesday.
Dust storms frequently hit countries in the region, causing environmental damage and economic problems.
In an address at the conference, Iranian Environmental Protection Organization Director Mohammad-Javad Mohammadizadeh said that the gathering was held to find a practical solution to mitigate the negative effects of dust storms.
The five countries also agreed to establish a network of meteorology stations to assess weather patterns, Mohammadizadeh added.
Fortunately, some countries, including Iraq, Turkey, and Syria, have allocated funds to implement practical measures, like forestation and anti-desertification programs, to tackle the issue of dust storms, he stated.
The dust storm phenomenon is partly due to natural causes but human activity is also a major factor, he noted.
Thus, regional countries must make serious efforts to deal with this environmental hazard, Mohammadizadeh said.
Other countries from other regions of the world should also join the campaign to reduce dust storms since a significant amount of this dust comes from North Africa, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, he added.
Iraqi Environment Minister Narmin Othman Hassan said the issue of dust storms is a regional issue, and thus regional cooperation is required to deal with it.
The Iraqi government has planted 17 million trees over the past four years to bring the country’s sand dunes under control, he added.
Turkish Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu stated that Turkey is prepared to fully cooperate with other regional countries to solve the dust storm problem.
Dust storms pose a threat to people’s health and also inflict damage on the economies of regional countries, he added.
Eroglu called on regional countries to allocate funds to address the issue of dust storms, saying this would reduce healthcare expenditures and provide other economic benefits.