Iran, Iraq seek effective, immediate ways to curb SDSs

May 30, 2022 - 17:10

TEHRAN – Iranian Department of Environment Chief Ali Salajegheh and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi discussed effective and immediate ways to control sand and dust storms (SDSs).

An Iranian delegation, headed by Salajegheh, has embarked on a trip to Iraq, Syria, and Kuwait to resolve the problem of sand and dust storms.

During a meeting on Sunday, the two sides discussed bilateral cooperation and other countries in the region to meet environmental challenges in order to guarantee common rights and interests.

Over the past two years, the precipitation rate has been on a downward trend, increasing sources of sand and dust storms. Solving the problems of drought and dealing with dust storms are regional and common demands and require the cooperation of all in finding effective solutions, Salajegheh said.

He expressed hope to reach good results with this meeting and the promotion of cooperation and active diplomacy in the field of environment, IRNA reported.

In this regard, good studies and measures have been taken that we can take steps to solve this environmental problem by sharing the successful experiences with other countries involved in dust, including Iraq, he noted.

According to the existing agreements, we must take steps to implement plans effective in SDS control to a good model for the countries in the region, he also emphasized.

For his part, al-Kadhimi said the historical relations between Iraq and Iran are accompanied by a mutual desire in various fields, and the development of partnerships with the countries of the region strengthens regional relations and increases the ability to face common challenges, and above all, environmental challenges.

Developing useful solutions to environmental challenges and tackling the effects of climate change is part of everyone’s responsibility, he added.

Iran haunted by severe SDSs

The SDSs phenomenon has been plaguing the country for several years and has caused problems in many provinces. According to experts, natural and human factors are involved in the occurrence and severity of this phenomenon which is mainly caused by excessive consumption of water and drying up reservoirs.

Over the past two years, the precipitation rate has been on a downward trend, as a result, sources of sand and dust storms (SDSs) have increased compared to a year before, Ahad Vazifeh, head of the national center for drought and crisis management, has said.

Declining water levels in dams and lakes mean that water available to humans has been reduced and the dust-raising areas have been increased, he lamented, ISNA reported.

The internal dust sources are estimated at 34.6 million hectares, generating an average amount of 4.22 million tons of dust per year, about 1.460 million hectares are dried wetlands.

Some 4.23 million tons of dust are raised per year, which means the loss of soil fertility will hit the agricultural sector.

All the SDSs sources are not located in Iran, 300 million hectares in the neighboring countries are giving rise to SDSs, which transport dust into Iran. The total dust density is estimated at about 150 million tons.

In fact, the dust is raised from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in the northeast as well as Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan in the south, southwest, and west.


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