People, Environment

Drop in Caspian Sea Level Means More Pollution

Drop in Caspian Sea Level Means More PollutionDrop in Caspian Sea Level Means More Pollution

A drop in the water level of the Caspian Sea will exacerbate environmental pollution since it will ultimately lead to a rise in the traffic of commercial vessels, said the director of Transit and Tariff Office at Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization.    

According to recent studies, natural cyclic fluctuations in the level of the sea occur every 30 years, meaning the lake experiences extended periods of extreme high and low tide.

The sea is now at low tide, during which the volume of water declines. As a result, ports become shallow, making it difficult for ships to dock.

“Under the conditions cargo ships will have to reduce the weight of the cargo they normally transport by one-sixth, and to make up for the deficit they will need to sail more often, causing more pollution,” IRNA quoted Khosro Sarayei as saying.

Another negative outcome of the phenomenon is extra shipping costs. “The smaller the cargo, the higher the costs of trade in the region,” he said.

In a meeting of Caspian Sea port directors last month (November 16-17) in Sari, Mazandaran Province, the conferees agreed to form working groups to help mitigate the fallout of the phenomenon.

The Caspian Sea registered an unprecedented 22-centimeter drop in water level in spring, reaching its lowest level in 60 years.

Aside from pollution, environmentalists fear invasive plants, such as the water hyacinth and water ferns that have besieged Anzali Wetland, will eventually find their way into the Caspian Sea.

Given the size of the sea, controlling the spread of invasive species will be a herculean task.

With a surface area of 371,000 km2, the Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on earth.

The environmental protection of the sea is of extreme importance to five Caspian littoral states: Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and the Republic of Azerbaijan.