People, Environment

DOE Proposes Dust Storm Bank Loans

DOE Proposes Dust Storm Bank LoansDOE Proposes Dust Storm Bank Loans

Residents of Khuzestan and Sistan-Baluchestan provinces might be able to apply for low-interest bank loans in the near future to reinforce their homes against recurring dust storms.

Ziaeddin Shojaei, head of the Department of Environment’s Headquarters to Combat Dust Storms, said the government is duty-bound to protect the wellbeing of its citizens, ISNA reported.

“We need to help people cope with dust storms,” he said.

He pointed to double-glazed windows and filtered ventilation systems as necessary measures to fortify houses against the impacts of dust storms.

Shojaei said the government-sanctioned plan has been communicated to banks, but no bank has accepted the plan.

“We are in negotiations with one bank to convince them to make funds available to the residents of Khuzestan and Sistan-Baluchestan,” he said.

The two provinces have been bearing the brunt of dust storms, especially in the past few months.

Hamoun Wetland in Sistan-Baluchestan and Hoor Al-Azim Wetland in Khuzestan have both dried up due to human activities, turning into major sources of dust storms.

Outdated oil extraction procedures have been blamed for the desiccation of Hoor Al-Azim, while excessive dam construction in Iran and Afghanistan has resulted in the wetland drying up.

Dust storms in Khuzestan have become more severe and frequent in recent years. In early 2015, they filled emergency rooms with people suffering from breathing difficulties and forced provincial officials to shut down schools and offices, and urge people to remain indoors.