Environmental Conservation Key to Sustainable Development

Environmental Conservation Key to Sustainable DevelopmentEnvironmental Conservation Key to Sustainable Development

President Hassan Rouhani said measures taken by his government to conserve the environment and address environmental challenges are critical to national plans for achieving sustainable development.

“This administration attaches great significance to efforts to preserve the environment and believes that if development is to be sustainable, the environment must be protected,” the president was quoted as saying by his official website on Sunday.

He was addressing a ceremony to mark the beginning of the Natural Resources Week (March 5-11).

“The health and vitality of the society depend on the environment’s health,” Rouhani said. He called for a collective national effort to foster the culture of respect for the environment.

“I ask members of the art community, athletes, university professors, writers and those active in social media to pay more attention to preserving the environment and encouraging the society to protect the environment,” he said.

Rouhani’s statements came nearly two weeks after the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called on the government to address environmental issues, particularly those prompted by floods from heavy downpours that disrupted daily life for several days in parts of southern and western Iran.

The floods washed filaments of dust and sand into power transmission equipment, leading to long outages and affecting water supplies.

Rouhani later expressed sympathy with those affected and assured local people that the government is determined to address the root cause of the problems and deal with environmental issues.

Last month, storms knocked out power grids in many cities and forced the closure of schools and public offices, and filled emergency rooms with young and old suffering from breathing difficulties. ISNA reported last week that the government has earmarked $100 million to combat dust storms in the next fiscal year that begins on March 21. Turkey’s rampant dam construction since the 1970s has significantly cut water flow to Iraq and Syria, leading to the desiccation of key rivers and marshlands.

To make matters worse, the internal conflict in Syria and Iraq’s battle with the terrorist group Daesh (aka the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group) have knocked out environmental issues in these countries from the list of priorities.

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