Wind erosion incurs annual loss of $714m

July 14, 2021 - 18:28

TEHRAN – Wind erosion brings an annual economic and environmental damage of 30 trillion rials (nearly $714 million at the official rate of 42,000 rials) to the country, according to the latest studies in 2019.

Strong winds move sand in desert areas, leading to wind erosion and damage to infrastructure such as roads, railways, and farmland, Vahid Jafarian, director of the desert affairs of the Forests, Rangelands, and Watershed Management Organization said.
About 30 million hectares of natural resources are affected by wind erosion, 13.5 million hectares of which are the hotspots, he further added.

Jafarian went on to note that wind erosion hotspots are scattered in 22 provinces of the country and Semnan is one of the provinces with the highest wind erosion sources, IRNA reported on Wednesday.

Desertification and wind erosion in natural resources is a dynamic phenomenon that changes with drought and rainfall conditions, he said, adding, Iran is located in arid and ultra-arid climate and 88 percent of the country is covered by this type of climate.

This year, a total of about 3 trillion rials (around $71 million) has been proposed for fighting desertification, but due to the drought, more funds should be spent on desertification compared to the previous years, he highlighted.

Panting vegetation and improving the way of dealing with nature is the solution to desertification, as well as mulching, wastewater control, creating windbreak on farms, and planting seedlings.

Last year, Reza Bayani an official with Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization, said between 2015 and 2020, approximately 12,000 hectares of forests across the country were wiped out annually.

He went on to say that the country’s forests are estimated at 14.3 million hectares, lamenting, deforestation occurs for a variety of reasons, including dam construction, road construction, fire, and wood smuggling.

2 billion tons of soil erodes annually in Iran 

According to estimates, 16.4 tons of soil erodes in Iran per hectare, which is more than three times the global average. A total of 2 billion tons of soil erosion occurs in Iran annually, and the volume has been on the rise in recent years due to heavy floods.

Each ton of soil is valued at $28 in terms of metal ores, so the loss of two billion tons of soil annually means the annual loss of $56 billion, which is more than revenues from the sale of oil and agricultural products, gardens, livestock, poultry, and fisheries.

Meanwhile, according to the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), 11 percent of the Iranians are affected by mild drought, 21.5 percent of whom also are under pressure of moderate drought; while severe drought is exerting pressure on 32.5 percent of the people.

The country has been repeatedly exposed to sand and dust storms due to its presence in the arid and semi-arid part of the world, so that in 2006-2007, the dust storms originating in Iraq and Syria affected Iran, haunting a wide area of the country so that it reached the central areas and southern slopes of Alborz and also included Tehran.

Abdolreza Daneshvar Amoli, an official with Iranian Biological Resource Center affiliated to the Academic Center for Education, Culture, and Research (ACECR) said in 2019 that 150 species of animals in Iran are on the verge of extinction.

National document on promoting environmental protection culture

A national document was unveiled on June 13, to protect the country's environment and preserve its natural resources by promoting the culture of environmental protection in society.

This document defines seven strategies and fifty-four actions aimed at increasing cross-sectoral and inter-institutional partnerships. It addresses issues such as the environment, environmental protection, culture of environmental protection, environmental education, and social responsibility, life resources, pollutants, clean energy, green economy, environmental literacy, sustainable development, green jobs, and green management.

It is prepared to implement Article 50 of the Constitution, which focuses on issues such as the establishment of an integrated national environmental system, coordinated and systematic management of natural resources, criminalization of environmental degradation, preparation of ecological atlas, strengthening environmental diplomacy, expanding green economy, promoting environmental culture and ethics.

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