People, Environment

Efforts to Strike Anzali Wetland Off Montreux Record

Anzali Wetland has been a Montreux Record site since 1993.Anzali Wetland has been a Montreux Record site since 1993.

Plans to restore Anzali Wetland in Gilan Province are progressing well and will help remove the lagoon from the Montreux Record—a register of endangered wetlands, according to an environment official. Iran managed to delist three wetlands from the register in 2009 and officials are hopeful that Anzali Wetland will follow suit with the government's support and the cooperation of NGOs.  

"A budget has been allocated by the government for the revival of Anzali Wetland, Urmia Lake, the Hamouns and lakes in Fars Province," said Masoud Baqerzadeh Karimi, the deputy for wetlands affairs at the Department of Environment, IRNA reported.

With an area of 20,000 hectares, Anzali Wetland is located in the north of Iran in Gilan Province. The wetland was registered under the Ramsar Convention in 1975, making it one of the oldest Ramsar sites in Iran. However, it was listed in the Montreux Record in 1993 as a site in need of priority conservation due to water quality deterioration caused by urbanization, agricultural drainage, rise in sedimentation, growth of invasive plants and waste disposal.

Japan International Cooperation Agency is involved in a project with the Iranian government to devise a comprehensive management plan for the imperiled wetland. In its third year, JICA's projects are reportedly on track to produce the desired results in the upcoming years, according to the agency's webpage on the project. According to Qorbanali Mohammadpour, the head of Gilan's DOE office, 250 hectares of the wetland were restored with 60 billion rials ($1.5 million).

"Sustainable protection is a key strategy to preserve the wetland that requires constant allocation of funds," said a Tomoko Aoki, a top counselor of the JICA team.  Along with the restoration committee, a workgroup has also been formed to control the waste material flowing into Anzali Wetland through rivers.

According to Hojjat Shabanpour, deputy governor of Gilan, setting up two compost factories, promoting standard waste disposal methods, waste separation at source and management of rural waste are among the workgroup's future plans.  The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites listed by the Ramsar Convention "where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference", according to the register's official website.

At present, six of Iran's wetlands are listed in the Montreux Record.


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