People, Environment

Delegation to Probe Hormoz Island Environmental Cases

Delegation to Probe Hormoz Island Environmental CasesDelegation to Probe Hormoz Island Environmental Cases

Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafari Montazeri has dispatched a delegation of senior judicial officials to Hormozgan Province to investigate an ochre (red soil) mine on Hormoz Island and Bandar Abbas’s fish market.

The ochre mine has 2,650 tons of proven hematite reserves. The soil is used in various industries, including the manufacturing of regular and anti-corrosion paint, cosmetics, tile, ceramics and varnish, MANA reported.

A private company was commissioned for extracting ochre from the mine in 2000 and stocks were sold to the locals. This is while environmentalists seriously warn against the practice.

Esmaeil Kahrom, advisor to the head of Department of Environment, has been a vocal opponent of the project, saying that extraction of soil on the island risks contaminating the rich marine ecosystem around it.

“Besides, each centimeter of this soil takes about 400 years to form,” he said.

Kahrom noted that there is enough soil in Iranian deserts for the production of tiles and ceramics that the marine environment need not be damaged for the purpose.

The fish market project in Bandar Abbas has also been plagued by environmental issues and faced opposition from DOE, Iran’s University of Medical Sciences and the Veterinary Organization.

The location of the market has long been a matter of dispute because it encroaches on protected coastal territories. Based on the country’s regulations, no construction is allowed within 60 meters of a shoreline, which the fish market project has violated, according to environmental officials and activists.

Marring an otherwise beautiful beach, discharging wastewater and fish waste, emitting an unpleasant odor and accumulating insects and other pests have been cited as problems caused by the market.