Mulching Continues in Arid Provinces

Mulching Continues in Arid ProvincesMulching Continues in Arid Provinces

The project on mulching domestic sources of dust storms in seven provinces, which started in late September 2017, is progressing successfully.

Empty fields are common sources of dust storms since the soil is exposed to wind.

Iranian authorities have long used the petroleum-based mulch to cover the surface of potential sources of storms, which is currently underway in Khuzestan, Isfahan, Yazd, Ilam, Hormozgan, Sistan-Baluchestan and some parts of Qom province, IRNA reported.

According to Nasser Heydari-Pouri, a deputy at Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization, the project has so far received 2.4 trillion rials ($53 million) worth of mulch out of the allotted share of 3.9 trillion rials ($86 million) from oil refineries.

During a visit to the project in Jask County, Hormozgan Province, the official hoped that current measures to prevent dust storms, which include both mulching the arid lands and planting seedlings, will continue until the end of the current Iranian year (March 20).

Home to over 1.5 million hectares of deserts, Hormozgan is considered a potential source of dust storms, especially its arid counties of Jask, Sirik and parts of Minab.

Heydari-Pouri called on the ministries of oil and industries to collaborate with the mulching projects.

Petroleum mulch is a byproduct of oil refining that is left at the end of the production line. In the past, when refining technologies were not as advanced, it did not seem to be of much use and was often stored in ponds near refineries.

Later, it turned out that the substance could be used as mulch to control the spread of dust and sand particles.

Reportedly, mulch is more expensive than gasoline, priced at between 12,000 and 20,000 rials ($0.26 and $0.44) per liter. The cost of mulching one hectare of land is about 320 million rials ($7,000).

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