Revival of Miankaleh wetland on agenda

March 11, 2022 - 18:24

TEHRAN – The restoration of Miankaleh wetland has been put on the main agenda of the government by the order of President Ebrahim Raisi, IRNA reported.

Raisi paid a visit to the international wetland in Mazandaran province on Friday, when ordered that the operational work required to rehabilitate and protect the Miankaleh wetland be given priority.

He emphasized the importance of both pumping water and running a 20-kilometer canal to release water in the wetland. The provision of equipment and infrastructure for firefighting in Miankaleh was also stressed by the President.

A treasure under threat

The long and narrow peninsula is 48 kilometers long, and between 1.3 and 3.2 kilometers wide, which 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.

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

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.

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

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.

In January 2020, the media reported the mysterious death of over 40,000 migratory birds in the Miankaleh peninsula; a week later, the veterinary organization announced that "botulinum poisoning" was the reason behind mass bird mortality.

In 2021, a similar incident happened, as some 10,000 bodies of lifeless migratory birds were found around the Miankaleh peninsula and Gorgan Bay as a result of botulism poisoning.



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