‘Miankaleh peninsula under serious threats’

August 14, 2019 - 17:24

TEHRAN – Miankaleh peninsula may not be disappearing, but the lack of fresh water resources makes is highly vulnerable and at risk, Masoud Baqerzadeh Karimi, deputy director for the natural habitat and environment affairs at the Department of Environment has warned.

Located in the northern province of Mazandaran, Miankaleh peninsula is a narrow but long peninsula located in the extreme south-eastern part of the Caspian Sea. The long and narrow peninsula is 48 kilometers long, and between 1.3 and 3.2 kilometers wide.

It sets apart the Gorgan Bay from the Caspian Sea. Four villages namely Ashuradeh, Qezel-e shomali, Qezel-Mehdi and Qavasatl are situated on the peninsula. Bandar Torkaman is also situated at the opposite side of the peninsula's end. 

It is home to many unique Caspian birds and reptile species native to this region. It's also a very important internationally recognized refuge for migratory birds.

Some have opened the strait between the Caspian Sea and the peninsula with the aim of allocating the water right of Gorgan Bay and Miankaleh peninsula, which will lead the wetland to dry up completely, he said, YJC reported on Tuesday.

These people are either not experts in hydraulics and wetlands, or they tend to launch boating as a hobby and a source of income under the pretext of wetland conservation; while the DOE never issues a permit in this regard, he noted.

Although, the strait is the connection between the peninsula and the sea, and if removed, all the water in the peninsula will flow into the sea and the lagoon will dry up, he concluded.

The peninsula water deficits, additionally mismanagement, unsustainable agricultural practices, and severe depletion of the wells and groundwater resources have exacerbated Miankaleh peninsula’s condition.

Miankaleh was designated a Ramsar site in 1975. Major habitats include wetlands, inter-tidal mud with sandy shores, shallow marine waters, forests, peat lands and agricultural areas. 

Local people earn their income from agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, handicrafts, carpet weaving, traditional poultry farming and tourism. Overgrazing, illegal hunting, fishing, deforestation and the unplanned spread of villages are some of the challenges posing threat to the region’s environment.


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