People, Environment

DoE Prioritizes Preservation of Natural Habitats

DoE Prioritizes Preservation of Natural HabitatsDoE Prioritizes Preservation of Natural Habitats

To comply with international conventions and fulfill environmental commitments, Iran needs to safeguard its natural habitats and decrease the rate of their destruction. Masoumeh Ebtekar, head of Department of Environment, said according to international commitments, Iran should revive at least 15 percent of its depleted natural resources by 2020.

“Crises such as recurring dust storms and desiccation of wetlands make fulfilment of international commitments challenging,” said Ebtekar, as quoted by ISNA. “Reviving lagoons and wetlands is a small step towards meeting our environmental goals.”

Numerous endangered wildlife species are in need of protection. To that end, precise planning and public participation are vital, she said.

Elaborating on DoE’s stance on ecotourism, Ebtekar said the DoE supports environmentally-friendly tours in protected areas. “Collaboration of the public, local communities and the private sector will be of immense help in realizing that.”

She said the odds of fire incidents in forests or other natural areas are higher this year due to drought.

Following last week’s wildfire in Ilam Province, the DoE will form a task force to combat forest fires, according to Ebtekar. “The country’s decaying infrastructure is incapable of meeting the challenges posed by wildfire, and we have been restoring this infrastructure for the past 21 months.”

President Hassan Rouhani has already emphasized the necessity of solving environmental issues on several occasions, most recently during a speech at the 10th National Environment Awards held earlier this week. He called his administration “environment-friendly” and called for international collaboration to help protect the environment.

Iran has signed memorandums of understanding with neighboring states, namely Iraq and Afghanistan, to combat the crippling dust storms in the west and revive the Hamoun wetlands in the east.

Ebtekar said legal and penal consequences for breaching environmental laws related to hunting, illegal acquisition of lands, pollution, and smuggling should be severe in order to dissuade would-be offenders.

She said five environmental bills have been proposed to the parliament, which aim to reduce air pollution and help revive Iran’s wetlands, urged lawmakers to pass the bills in a timely manner.