Iran urges Iraq to tackle dust pollution waves

Tehran, June 21, IRNA – Vice President and Head of Iran’s Department of the Environment, Massoumeh Ebtekar here on Tuesday urged Iraq to tackle dust and haze pollution.

Ebtekar made the remarks in a telephone conversation with the caretaker of Iraq’s Ministry of Environment Jassim AbdulAziz Humadi.

Highlighting the negative effects of dust storms which originate from Iraq, she urged the neighboring country to settle the dust pollution.

Touching upon the recent meeting held between the Iranian and Iraqi officials on the sideline of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Kenya, she emphasized the need to boost mutual environmental cooperation.

Referring to adverse impacts of dust storms on human health and also on economic and social arenas, Ebtekar said Iraqi government is responsible for tackling this environmental dilemma.

Pointing to the importance of reviving Iran-Iraq joint border wetland, Horalazim (Hour-al Hawizeh); she added the mutual cooperation should be perused in the framework of UNESCO’s multi-lateral measures.

Abdul Aziz Humadi, for his part, voiced the Iraq’s readiness to cooperate with Iran in tackling dust storms.

Pointing to the committee formed in Iraq to reconnaissance the focal points of particulate matters and performing programs to tackle the environmental issues, the Iraqi official said Baghdad is completing a data base about the sources of dusts effecting Iran.

He said a delegation of Iraqi experts is scheduled to travel to Iran to extend the inked mutual environmental agreement and pursue measures to tackle the problem.

Last week, Chairman of the Taskforce on Dust Particles in Iran Ziaoddin Shoaie said the thick dust which covered parts of the country are originated from Syria and Iraq.

Shoaie said that based on satellite information, 90 percent of the dust clouds affecting Iran comes from foreign countries.

In recent years, dust storms in the western part of Iran have grown in frequency and density. It has on occasions caused people serious respiratory problems, sometimes even forcing them to seek hospital care.

The storms are believed to be the result of dust being carried by atmospheric circulation from lands to the west of Iran.

Some have blamed the desertification of lagoons in Iraq and the strong winds from the deserts of Saudi Arabia for the blanket of dust reaching Iranian cities.