Trailing Human Footprints in Nature on Earth Day

Environmental threats looming large over Iran include excessive waste production, water shortage and dust storms
Worldwide, various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection on the Earth Day.Worldwide, various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection on the Earth Day.

To mark the international Earth Day event, the head of the Department of Environment together with environmental figures and activists gathered near Jajrud River in Mazandaran Province, on Friday.

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. Worldwide, various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. To focus public attention on the event, a simultaneous cleaning up event is held in almost all provinces in Iran.

Masoumeh Ebtekar said the worrying status of environment in literally every corner of Iran is the result of a combination of natural phenomena and human misconduct, IRNA reported.

She said the annual destruction of 50,000 hectares of forests and Hirkani forests in Iran’s northern line proves Iranians have poorly treated nature.

Desiccation of Lake Urmia in the northwest, dust storms in the south and southwest, dried up wetlands of Hamoun in the southeast and long periods of drought in the northeast are problems too big to ignore and receive near-constant media coverage.

At present, two immediate threats looming large over Iran are countrywide water shortage and dust storms. However, one of the constantly highlighted environmental troubles in the country has been waste management.

“Iran’s waste production rate exceeds 3,000 tons a day, which almost triples on holidays. No one can ignore the devastating effects of the waste abandoned in the nature; leachate from the waste makes its way through rivers, farmlands and ground waters, and threatens people’s health,” Ebtekar said.

 Promising Measures

During her talks, the DOE chief emphasized that it is a good time to put theories of waste management into practice and begin a real executive phase for protecting the environment.

“DOE is preparing a comprehensive directive on controlling plastic bag use, which will soon be sent to the government for approval,” she said.

According to Ebtekar, the government has initiated noticeable measures, the most remarkable among which is training.

“In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, plans have been devised to include environmental courses in educational books from the early grades of school. Recycling, logical food and water consumption pattern, waste separation and management should be inculcated in children,” she said.

Waste management has also been prioritized by the directives and guidelines issued by the government which, if efficiently implemented by the administrations, can help tackle the waste problem.

Establishing incineration plants with the state of the art technology and world environmental standards is the last phase of waste treatment process (after waste separation and recycling), which will soon start after feasibility studies are carried out.

“The waste treatment process shouldn’t harm air quality, therefore enough studies should be carried out. It is irrational to increase air pollution to solve the waste problem,” Ebtekar added.

Environmental issues are global problems that require global solutions. Steps are being taken to reduce carbon emissions and organizations are campaigning against deforestation, poaching and the fossil fuel industry.

Despite all the talk, however, the multitude of negative environment news paints a more sobering picture: we have not done enough.

On April 22, 1970, millions took to the streets to mark the first-ever Earth Day, turning environmentalism from an activist’s hobby into a social movement. Forty-five years on, this once monumental day has become an occasion for governments and multibillion-dollar companies to issue press statements about how they intend to celebrate the day by planting trees and pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

In description of Earth, the affable scientist Carl Sagan once wrote, “That’s [Earth]. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life.”

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints