People, Environment

Oil Ministry Urged to Deliver Funds

Oil Ministry Urged to Deliver FundsOil Ministry Urged to Deliver Funds

With three months to go before the current Iranian year ends (March 19, 2016), the Oil Ministry has yet to deliver on its pledge to provide 200 billion rials ($5.5 million) to help stabilize shifting sands that have become major domestic sources of dust storms.

Speaking to reporters in Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan Province, Mostafa Kiakojouri, deputy for planning and management at the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization, said the ministry has yet to make the funds available.

“By making good on their pledge, we hope to speed up efforts to combat dust storms,” he said, according to IRNA.

He, however, commended the ministry’s efforts to stabilize shifting sands and its support for reforestation projects in the southern province off the Persian Gulf.

“The success of these projects could serve as a model for future efforts,” Kiakajouri said.

The ministry’s obsolete oil extraction methods are largely blamed for exacerbating Iran’s problems associated with storms. Department of Environment officials accuse the ministry of drying up Hoor al-Azim Wetland in oil-rich Khuzestan Province, which has become one of the largest domestic sources of the storms that have taken on more dangerous proportions in recent years endangering the health of millions of people across provinces.

Dust storms have afflicted over two-thirds of the country, with Khuzestan, Hormozgan and Sistan-Baluchestan provinces frequently reporting dangerously high levels of particulate pollution caused by dust and sand storms.

Officials insist that domestic sources contribute to only 5% of dust pollution in the country, instead blaming the increase in frequency and severity of dust storms on sources in neighboring counries, namely Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia.