People, Environment

Rulebook to Help Control Whiteflies

Rulebook to Help Control WhitefliesRulebook to Help Control Whiteflies

To address the growing problem of whiteflies in Tehran, a plan of action devised by the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad and the Tehran Parks and Green Space Organization will be prepared in the form of a rulebook in a week, a senior environmental official said.

“During a meeting last week, which was attended by representatives of relevant entities, including Tehran Municipality and the Health Ministry, the problem was discussed in detail and short-term goals were set,” Mohammad Hosseing Bazgir, the head of Tehran’s Department of Environment, also told Fars News Agency.

The meeting was chaired by the director of Iranian capital’s DOE, Mohammad Hadi Heydarzadeh.

Bazgir said the Iranian Research Institute of Plant Protection was tasked with the study of the insect’s biology, including its life cycle, and outlining practical ways of controlling their increasing numbers.

“The institute has been studying whiteflies for a while, but a lot more research is needed,” he said. “The municipality will fund further research.”

Some have attributed the rise in their numbers to global warming, while others have suggested that the bugs may have piggybacked to Tehran on imported ornamental plants.

The rulebook will help check the growth of the insect’s population during winter.

“The execution of measures in the rulebook is the responsibility of the municipality,” Bazgir said, stressing that DOE only plays a supervisory role in the matter.

Last month, the war of words between DOE and municipality escalated when Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf accused DOE of not doing enough to combat the problem.

“The municipality helps ministries and departments with their responsibilities, but it is not our duty to do their job for them,” he said, adding that dealing with whiteflies is the responsibility of DOE.

In response, Heydarzadeh cited Article 20 of the Municipal Charter and said, “Combating and controlling pollution of any kind, including a swarm of whiteflies, are the responsibility of the municipality,”

As yet, there is no clear solution to the problem, though some experts have proposed the use of pesticides to combat whiteflies. However, the presence of whiteflies in densely-populated areas makes the use of chemicals all but impossible.