Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dust Storms

During several months in summer and fall, many cities in Iran have been suffering from dust storms and severe air pollution. Tehran has also been inflicted by this phenomena during recent weeks. Aerial satellite images indicate that the sources of these dust storms are from deserted farm lands and desert areas in Iraq, Syria , Jordan and Saudi Arabia. These dust storms take the particles high into the atmosphere and they travel across boundaries into Iran.
We held a large hearing session on the issue in the Tehran City Council Environmental Committee and invited all sectors involved with the matter  last night. Experts spoke on the issue, indicating that a reduction of rainfall and mismanagement of water resources particularly in Turkey, where new dams have withheld most of the water coming in the Tigris and  Euphrates , has resulted in the drying up of marshlands in this region. The only solution for the dust and air pollution which has hampered activity in many cities, is international cooperation for land management and natural resources protection. Planting of species which could protect the soil and prevent erosion is the ultimate resolve. Cities like Beijing have face similar challenges in the past and have improved their air quality with long term planning and regional cooperation, I mentioned in the session.
This could be done in the context of the Convention to Combat Desertification , the Convention on Climate Change and other conventions such as the Wetlands Convention . We concluded that international and bilateral cooperation is essential and all regional countries including Turkey should be involved in this process.
These events indicate the importance of environmental policies and collaboration at the regional and international level to protect natural resources.

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