Iran, Kuwait sign MOU to deal with dust storms

July 6, 2022 - 17:59

TEHRAN – Iran and Kuwait inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Tuesday to cooperate on mitigating sand and dust storms (SDSs) in the region, IRNA reported.

Heading a technical-diplomatic delegation, Iran’s Department of Environment Chief, Ali Salajeqeh traveled to Kuwait City to negotiate for immediate implementation of an agreement on SDSs mitigation.

In his meeting with high-ranking Kuwaiti officials, Salajeqeh underlined the importance of joint cooperation against dust storms and the implementation of regional action plans.

The MOU includes arranging joint seminars and conferences, exchanging technicians and scientists specializing in the fight against dust storms, establishing a special workgroup, sharing scientific achievements in the field, management of the campaign, and sharing experiences of the international organizations in this field, and timely warning system before the occurrence of dust storms.

SDS effects

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.

APDIM director Letizia Rossano said in June that Iran is really at forefront of understanding the problem of sand and dust storms as well as dealing with it.

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.

Letizia Rossano, the director of the Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM), said in June that Iran is really at forefront of understanding the problem of sand and dust storms as well as dealing with it.

More than 80 percent of the entire populations of Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and the Islamic Republic of Iran are exposed to medium and high levels of poor air quality due to sand and dust storms," she noted.


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