SDSs affect 43% of wetlands nationwide

October 28, 2020 - 18:22

TEHRAN –Wetlands across Iran measure about 3.4 million hectares in area, 1.4 million hectares of which, equivalent to 43 percent, have become sand and dust storm (SDS) hotspots.

Of course, coastal wetlands are not included because the water of these wetlands is usually supplied from the sea, so they do not dry out to become dust centers, Masoud Bagherzadeh Karimi, director of the wetlands protection and rehabilitation unit of the Department of the Environment (DOE), said on Wednesday.

There are 42 types of wetlands in the world, of which 12 are coastal-marine, 20 are inland and 10 are artificial. Of these, 41 types exist in Iran, except for the very cold tundra wetlands, all other wetlands have been registered in the country, and therefore, Iran is one of the countries with the most types of wetlands.

He highlighted that this year's rainfall has reduced SDS hotspots across wetlands by two to three percent, IRNA reported.

Wetlands are ecosystems saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently. They store water and ensure its quality, providing resilience against drought. They play a central role in sustainable development by supplying all our freshwater.

Wetlands play a major role in protecting the land against floods and the impacts of storms. They provide food and diverse habitats which support genetic, species, and ecosystem biodiversity. Wetlands play a key role in the life cycles of many species and in annual migration patterns.

Unfortunately, wetlands are being degraded and lost due to pollution, overexploitation, climate change, and human population growth. In recognition of these challenges, the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty, was adopted in 1971.

There are 80 big and small wetlands in the country, 24 sites designated as wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites) out of 2,290 worldwide. About one-third of Iran’s 24 sites are under pressure or in a critical condition.

Chief of the DOE, Issa Kalantari, has said in order to restore wetlands in the country a budget of 600 trillion rials (nearly $14 billion) is required.

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