People, Environment

Gorgan Bay Dredging Underway

A large number of contaminants, including organic and inorganic pollutants, have swamped the area.A large number of contaminants, including organic and inorganic pollutants, have swamped the area.

A project to dredge channels and straits feeding Gorgan Bay, the largest inlet in the southeastern part of Caspian Sea, is underway, the technical manager of Golestan Regional Water Company said.

Speaking to ISNA, Mohammad Nouri added that the project has a budget of 6.1 billion rials ($162,000) and aims to revive the impaired bay.

Covering an area of about 400 square kilometers, the once-thriving Gorgan Bay is now on the road to depletion and what little water remains there is threatened by pollution.

The waterways that will be dredged are Qareh Sou, Sarkalateh, Baghu, Gaz, Balajadeh, Shast Kalateh, Miandarreh and Shesh Dangeh.

According to Nouri, dredging and cleaning up the bay's tributaries are the only method that's likely to deliver results.

The rescue project has been divided into a comprehensive and emergency phase.

"The emergency phase is a short-term solution, whereas the comprehensive phase aims to tackle the problem for good," he said.

Last year, the government had earmarked 50 billion rials ($1.2 million) for the bay's restoration efforts but an insignificant portion of the budget was made available. It is unclear how the administration plans to fund the project's new budget of 6.1 billion rials.

Mass industrial development along the north coast, notwithstanding the chemical, atmospheric and environmental pollutions and the dumping of millions of gallons of untreated sewage every year, has caused widespread damage to the bay.

A large number of contaminants, including organic and inorganic pollutants, have swamped the area and increased the risk of diseases such as hepatitis, skin diseases and inflammatory bowel diseases.

"Ignoring the bay’s plight will not only cause serious damage to the region’s ecosystems but also create a second crisis like that of Lake Urmia,” Esmaeil Mohajer, the head of the provincial office of the Department of Environment said last year.

The official was referring to the famous lake in northwestern Iran, which now hardly holds 5% of the water it did 20 years ago as a result of climate change and human activities, such as dam construction over its tributaries and failing to uphold its water rights.

Mohajer noted that besides environmental impacts, the drying up of the bay will also hit the province’s tourism industry since most tourism infrastructure located on Golestan’s western shores will become useless.

Urmia Lake is the country's largest inland body of water, nestled between the provinces of East Azarbaijan and West Azarbaijan in northwestern Iran. Measures to revive the lake are progressing well, albeit slowly, due to a lack of funds.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints