People, Environment

Tehran Farmlands Destroyed Over Wastewater Irrigation

Tehran Farmlands Destroyed Over Wastewater IrrigationTehran Farmlands Destroyed Over Wastewater Irrigation

Some 7.5 hectares of farmlands irrigated with urban and industrial wastewater in southern Tehran Province have been destroyed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Irrigation of farms with untreated wastewater in southern Tehran and some other provinces is not a new issue and the local media consistently report on the unhygienic and illegal practice.

Speaking to PANA, Mohammad Hadi Heydarzadeh, the head of the provincial office of the Department of Environment, said a working group formed by the ministry was tasked with cracking down on wastewater-irrigated fields and farmers that violate the regulations.

According to official data, more than 30% of farmlands in southern Tehran are irrigated with untreated wastewater.

Farmers are willing to use wastewater for irrigation because it is more convenient and cheaper, even though water in Iran is one of the most heavily subsidized commodities.

The problem is exacerbated due to Tehran’s unfinished wastewater network, which means wastewater from industrial units are easily accessible as they are dumped in the open or in streams.

According to Heydarzadeh, carpet cleaning facilities make up the bulk of industrial units around the farms, which is why they are all being monitored by DOE.

The use of wastewater for irrigating crops can lead to accumulation of pathogens and toxic substances such as heavy metals in food produce and their transmission to humans when consumed. This has been found to cause many diseases, including different kinds of cancer.

Wastewater use can also result in underground aquifer contamination.