People, Environment

Call for Combating Dust Storms

Call for Combating Dust StormsCall for Combating Dust Storms

Following last week’s unexpected dust storms, Tehran’s Urban Planning and Research Center has been tasked with devising a comprehensive plan to prevent the recurrence of the phenomenon.

Hadi Afrasyabi, head of the Research and Urban and Environmental Services Planning Office at the center, also said, “According to a directive issued by Tehran City Council, we’ve been assigned the task of devising the plan and will be cooperating with relevant organizations.”

The progress of the plan will be overseen by the city council’s Health and Environment Commission, the official was quoted as saying by Tasnim News Agency.

The plan, which will outline the responsibilities of every relevant organization in the Iranian capital, would be implemented once the city council approves it.

“Identifying and controlling the sources of dust storms, implementing early-warning systems, raising public awareness, equipping healthcare facilities and promoting sustainable development will all be covered in the plan,” Afrasyabi said.

Last week, mammoth dust storms rolled through the provinces of Alborz and Tehran, reducing visibility, breaking windows, bringing down trees and causing power outages in some regions.

Iranian media reported that winds reached speeds of 70 km/h at some point.

Dust storms have increased in both frequency and severity in recent years. Whereas previously only western and southwestern provinces grappled with the phenomenon, dust storms have affected 22 provinces, with no signs of letting up.

Officials say only 5% of dust particles found in storms originate from domestic sources and the rest rise from outside Iranian borders.

However, as the Persian website Khabar Online reports, last week’s storms originated from Tehran and Alborz provinces. Perpetual drought and loss of vegetation have turned lush plains and farmlands into barren landscapes that are at the mercy of winds.