People, Environment

Aras Cleanup Deadline: Jan. 2017

Aras Cleanup Deadline: Jan. 2017Aras Cleanup Deadline: Jan. 2017

Aras River, which is contaminated by pollutants, is expected to be cleaned up by January 2017, Mohammad Javad Soroush, deputy for water and soil at the Department of Environment said on Sunday.

During a meeting last week between Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and Iran’s First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, who was leading a high-ranking delegation, the two sides agreed to help rid the river of pollutants, IRNA reported.  

Aras, which passes through Iran, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, has been grappling with sewage from Armenian power plants and aluminum factories.

In a show of commitment to cleaning up the river, Abrahamyan tasked Yervand Zakharyan and Aramayis Grigoryan—ministers of energy and environment respectively—to inspect the sites of pollution and take appropriate measures.

The prime minister promised that the pollution will be completely removed from the river by 2017.

“A draft agreement has been prepared and will be signed by both parties, once the two states’ foreign affairs ministries approve it,” Soroush said.

The DOE official pointed to the 20th meeting between experts and officials of both countries held last month in Tabriz, East Azarbaijan Province, and said meetings will continue to be held regularly until the agreement’s objectives are met.

Soroush said Aras’ water surface, riverbed and sedimentation will be monitored frequently based on standards approved by the two sides.