People, Environment

Int’l Aid to Fight Dust Storms

Int’l Aid to Fight Dust StormsInt’l Aid to Fight Dust Storms

The Global Environment Fund will provide financial aid to a joint effort by the Department of Environment and the United Nations Environment Programme to combat dust storms. Speaking to reporters on Saturday in Tehran, UNEP executive director Achim Steiner told reporters that the world body and the DOE “will embark on a joint project to tackle dust storms and particulate matter pollution.” He did not provide details, IRNA reported. The government in Tehran has earmarked between 600 billion to 1.2 trillion rials ($17.4 million - $34.8 million) for the next economic development plan (2016-21) to address the problem. Massive dust storms frequently hit the western and southwestern regions of Iran, at times locking everyone indoors and filling emergency rooms with people complaining of breathing difficulties and other ailments. Experts are of the opinion that most of the sources of dust storms, which have become more frequent and intense recently, are located in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria, but domestic sources, including the desiccated wetlands such as Hoor al-Azim in Khuzestan and Hamouns in Sistan-Baluchestan, have made a bad situation worse. Some estimates say $1.5 billion are needed to tackle the near permanent phenomenon.