TEHRAN (Iran News) – Environmental projects worth 9.2 trillion rials (nearly $220 million at the official rate of 42,000 rials) were inaugurated on Monday.
In an online ceremony attended by President Hassan Rouhani, 13 construction projects, a comprehensive environmental system, and the Lake Urmia futurology center were also inaugurated, IRNA reported.
A comprehensive environmental system observes citizenship rights in order to organize environmental databases to identify and control polluting sources, biological resources, establishment and evaluation of industries, waste management, monitoring the activities of other stakeholders affecting the environment in order to optimally implement the existing laws.
Accordingly, 13 construction projects, including environmental water demand studies for 21 wetlands and rivers in the country, came on stream.
In this regard, with the aim of further monitoring water bodies, quantitative and qualitative monitoring systems have been launched for the protection of wetlands and rivers, studies also began to determine the water needs of 21 wetlands and it soon will be started for 17 other wetlands and rivers.
On the other hand, wetland ecosystem management programs will be unveiled as the main document, which provides the purpose of wetland management for the transition from the current situation to the desired conditions in the future, in addition to a framework for managerial decisions and executive actions.
In this regard, 17 management programs have been developed, which try to establish a balance between protection and development and the sustainable use of the wetlands, considering the active role and responsibility of those involved in wetland management.
Firefighting stations in protected areas, environmental protection and monitoring center for measuring environmental pollutants, air pollution measuring, and analysis station are among the other projects opened.
Environmental projects worth 9.2 trillion rials (nearly $220 million at the official rate of 42,000 rials) were also launched, which include granting financial facilities to polluting industries in order to control irreparable damages, reduce environmental pollution and prevent environmental degradation.
In this regard, 20 major projects have been defined for implementation by top universities in the country, of which 12 projects have been concluded so far.
Lake Urmia futurology center
Lake Urmia futurology center opened with the aim of using scientific and technical capacities at the local, national, and international levels, facilitation, and coordination between departments, presenting and expanding successful models of coexistence with Lake Urmia and sustainable use of its resources with public participation, raising awareness of all stakeholders about their environmental rights and responsibilities and increasing public sensitivity and participation.
Dealing with environmental issues
Urban development, expansion of agricultural lands, large scale tree cutting, and destruction of forests under the pretext of road and dam construction, which led to subsequent drying of wetlands and rivers, extinction of plant and animal species, sand and dust storms, and the occurrence of various sea and land environmental problems.
According to estimates, 16.4 tons of soil erodes in Iran per hectare, which is more than three times the global average. A total of 2 billion tons of soil erosion occurs in Iran annually, and the volume has been on the rise in recent years due to heavy floods.
Each ton of soil is valued at $28 in terms of metal ores, so the loss of two billion tons of soil annually means the annual loss of $56 billion, which is more than revenues from the sale of oil and agricultural products, gardens, livestock, poultry, and fisheries.
Meanwhile, according to the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), 11 percent of the Iranians are affected by mild drought, 21.5 percent of whom also are under pressure of moderate drought; while severe drought is exerting pressure on 32.5 percent of the people.
The country has been repeatedly exposed to sand and dust storms due to its presence in the arid and semi-arid part of the world, so that in 2006-2007, the dust storms originating in Iraq and Syria affected Iran, haunting a wide area of the country so that it reached the central areas and southern slopes of Alborz and also included Tehran.
Air pollution is responsible for around 40,000 premature deaths in Iran annually, Mohammad- Sadeq Hassanvand, head of the air pollution research center at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, has said.
Between 4,000 and 5,000 people residing in the capital city of Tehran lose their lives per year due to air pollution, according to statistics published by the ministry of health in 2019.
Abdolreza Daneshvar Amoli, an official with Iranian Biological Resource Center affiliated to the Academic Center for Education, Culture, and Research (ACECR) said in 2019 that 150 species of animals in Iran are on the verge of extinction.