Jassem Al Beshara, the Executive Director of the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME), has extended his appreciation to Iran for its steadfast commitment to tackling environmental pollution, particularly within the Persian Gulf region.
During a meeting held on Thursday with Mohammad Toutounchi, the Iranian Ambassador to Kuwait, Al Beshara voiced gratitude for Iran’s unwavering efforts to combat environmental pollution in the Persian Gulf. Al Beshara underscored the importance of collaborative action, stating that the Persian Gulf is a collective resource that demands joint preservation efforts by all nations in the vicinity.
Furthermore, he revealed that a comprehensive five-year strategic plan is in the works, and it will be formulated with the active participation of an Iranian delegation. This strategic blueprint is scheduled to be shaped in Kuwait during the final week of September.
In response, Toutounchi emphasized the detrimental impact of pollutants, including dust storms, on various aspects of regional economies such as agriculture, transportation, and the environment. He highlighted the pressing need for concerted efforts to address these challenges.
In alignment with the commitment to combating sand and dust storms, Toutounchi invited Al Beshara to partake in an international conference on the subject. The conference is slated to occur in Tehran on September 9-10, aiming to gather global expertise and insights to formulate an effective strategy to counter sand and dust storms.
Toutounchi reiterated that the management of these environmental issues necessitates a coherent and scientifically grounded program, which will be a focal point of discussion at the upcoming Tehran conference.
In a significant step towards environmental protection, Iran and Kuwait signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in July 2022 to collaborate on alleviating the impact of sand and dust storms in the region. The MOU outlines a range of collaborative endeavors, including joint seminars and conferences, scientific exchanges, the establishment of a specialized task force, sharing of scientific advancements, and a timely warning system to predict dust storm occurrences.
The phenomenon of sand and dust storms (SDSs) has persisted in Iran for several years, inflicting adverse consequences on numerous provinces. The occurrence and severity of SDSs are attributed to a combination of natural and human factors, notably exacerbated by excessive water consumption and the depletion of reservoirs.
Recent years have witnessed a decline in precipitation rates, leading to an increase in sources of sand and dust storms. Water scarcity in dams and lakes has exacerbated the issue, resulting in a surge in dust-raising areas.
While many SDS sources are located within Iran, neighboring countries also contribute to the problem, transporting dust into Iranian territory. The cumulative dust density is estimated to be around 150 million tons, originating from regions including Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.
Letizia Rossano, the Director of the Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM), praised Iran’s dedication to understanding and addressing the challenges posed by sand and dust storms. Rossano acknowledged that Iran is at the forefront of grappling with this environmental concern, illustrating the nation’s proactive stance in the battle against environmental adversity.
In conclusion, Iran‘s proactive endeavors to combat environmental pollution and its commitment to addressing the menace of sand and dust storms have garnered recognition and commendation. Collaborative initiatives and international conferences like the upcoming Tehran event signify steps towards a collective solution to these pressing environmental challenges.