People, Environment

Public Urged to Adapt to Dust Storms

Public Urged to Adapt  to Dust Storms
Public Urged to Adapt  to Dust Storms

For the foreseeable future, Tehran will continue to grapple with dust storms, forcing the public to implement changes to ensure minimum exposure to particulate pollution.

Speaking to ILNA, environmental monitoring deputy at Tehran’s Department of Environment, Mohammad Rastegari, said the dust storms have local and foreign sources.

“Counties in Tehran Province, such as Robat Karim, Shahriyar and Varamin where soil is exposed to wind, are the main sources of dust storms,” he said.

Rastegari said a dust storm is not an overnight phenomenon; it has been years in the making. As such, it will take a long time to effectively curb its impact. He emphasized, however, that some damage may be irreparable.

“I’m not saying that there is no workable solution to the problem, but it is extremely difficult and time-consuming to devise effective strategies. That’s why people should adapt their lifestyle until a solution is found,” he said.

Iran has been grappling with dust storms for years, with the country’s southern and southwestern provinces taking the brunt. In addition to natural phenomenon such as drought, human activities such as excessive dam construction, oil exploration and global warming have led to the desiccation of once thriving wetlands, turning them into sources of dust storms.

Twenty-two provinces are said to be dealing with the unwelcome phenomenon. In February, life in the oil-rich Khuzestan Province came to a halt as a result of severe dust storms that forced officials to shut schools and filled emergency rooms with patients suffering from respiratory difficulties.

Dust storms have become more severe and frequent year after year and, if left unchecked, may inflict irreversible harm on the public, as well as vulnerable historical structures.