People, Environment

Parishan Wetland Smoke Under Control

Parishan Wetland Smoke Under Control
Parishan Wetland Smoke Under Control

An 18-hour effort to check the columns of smoke rising from the desiccated bed of Parishan Wetland in Kazeroun, Fars Province, has curbed the problem to some extent, according to provincial officials.

Environmentalists were alarmed on Sunday to see smoke seeping from cracks on the surface of the dry lakebed. Upon further inspection, it was revealed that inflamed subsurface reed beds were the cause, IRNA reported.

“Between three to five hectares of reed beds under the surface of the wetland were on fire,” said Hamzeh Valavi, head of the provincial Department of Environment.

The topography of the region made access difficult. As a result, environmental experts and local residents installed makeshift pipes to transfer water from the surrounding farmlands to the lake.

“Parts of the wetland were flooded, which seem to have helped. More pipes will be installed to transfer water from other farms,” he said.

At the time of writing, smoke was billowing from the center of the wetland. Officials hope that by transferring more water, they will be able to flood all parts of Parishan.

According to officials, exposure of the dried lake bed to the scorching summer heat of Fars, combined with wetland’s soil composition (dead and decaying plant material, also called peat), caused the incident.

Registered under the Ramsar Convention, Parishan is a protected area and a globally significant wetland ecosystem. The lake is the largest freshwater body of water in Iran and home to unique animal and plant species, including migrating birds.

As a result of Iran’s 14-year battle with drought and excessive withdrawal of groundwater, the lake has been gradually drying up in the past few years.

Fars Governorate, DOE and a group of professors at Shiraz University are devising a comprehensive plan to help restore the province’s wetlands. The plan aims to uphold wetlands’ water rights and outline the duties of related organizations.