People, Environment

Lapou Wetland Reportedly Dried Up

Lapou Wetland Reportedly Dried UpLapou Wetland Reportedly Dried Up

Local media reported on Wednesday that Lapou Wetland in Mazandaran Province has completely dried up, putting the livelihood of locals at risk.

The news comes as a shock, because just a few months ago the lagoon was overflowing to the point that the water flooded an intercity road.

"It's desiccated, completely dry," Ali Aboutalebi, an environmental activist based in Miankaleh Peninsula (east of the wetland), told IRNA. "They pumped so much water to irrigate rice fields that the lagoon is now empty."

He said a portion of the lagoon's water was earlier diverted toward Miankaleh Wetland to help revive it.

Nonetheless, Elias Mohammadi, the head of Natural Environment Office at the provincial Department of Environment, said he has no knowledge about the wetland drying up.

"I cannot confirm nor deny that, because we don't know. We'll look into the reports," he said.

Lapou Wetland is the name given to a series of interconnected lagoons in Mazandaran: Lapou, Shirkhan Lapou and Palangan.  The wetland is located about a kilometer south of the Caspian Sea.

The name is derived from the combination of "lap" (still) and "Ou" (water) in the local language.

Like Miankaleh, Lapou is a Ramsar site, meaning it is a wetland of international importance because of hosting migratory birds and being a source of livelihood for local residents. According to official reports quoted by IRNA, some 11,000 people depend on the wetland to make a living.


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