Band Alikhan Wetland Poses Dust Storm Risk to Tehran

Band Alikhan Wetland Poses Dust Storm Risk to TehranBand Alikhan Wetland Poses Dust Storm Risk to Tehran

The depletion of Band Alikhan Wetland in southern Tehran threatens the province with the surge of dust storms, the governor of Varamin County said.

Covering 25,000 hectares of area, Band Alikhan Wetland is one of the most important natural areas in the capital, which is now on the verge of extinction, Mehr News Agency also quoted Mohammad Reza Yousefi as saying.

"If the wetland dries up, a large number of residents will soon find themselves struggling with dust storms and be forced to migrate," he said, warning that the storms will affect Tehran as well.  According to Yousefi, water has to be constantly fed to the wetland for its survival and to the surrounding grasslands that extend over 54,000 hectares for feeding livestock.

Dust storms have already caused havoc in the south and southwestern provinces for extended periods. Drying wetlands in southeastern Iran like Hamoun Wetland are major sources of the sand and dust storms, also known as SDS.

The storms have gradually extended to northern parts of the country, including Tehran.

Although 75% of dust storm emissions worldwide come from natural (as opposed to manmade) sources, a vast majority of hotspots that contribute to SDS in Iran and the Middle East are caused by human activities. Excessive dam construction, declining precipitation and global warming have exacerbated the region’s plight, as it struggles with ever-increasing levels of toxic pollution.

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