People, Environment

Gas Flaring Aggravates Khuzestan Pollution by 60%

Khuzestan's Air Quality Index has not improved despite the amelioration of dust storms over the past weeks.
Khuzestan's Air Quality Index has not improved despite the amelioration of dust storms over the past weeks.

Gas flaring is responsible for over 60% of air pollution in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan and a major contributing factor to the province's low air quality alongside dust particles, said the director of the provincial office of the Department of Environment.

Speaking to Mehr News Agency, Ahmadreza Lahijanzadeh added that although the problem of dust storms has been smoothened in recent weeks, the Air Quality Index does not show any signs of improvement.

"Over 7.5 million cubic meters of sour gas burn in Khuzestan oilfields per day," he said.

Lahijanzadeh added that gas flaring could aggravate the conditions when added to the phenomenon of temperature inversion in the second half of the year.

Khuzestan has long been suffering from dust storms, but there are other critical factors behind the air pollution in the province.

Iran's production of 4 million barrels of crude oil a day results in the flaring of around 39 million cubic meters of gas across the country. For instance, Ahvaz in Khuzestan Province is reeling from air pollution caused by gas flaring.

To curb the issue, officials have proposed a land mapping project in a 3,000-hectare area in Mahshahr-Omidiyeh region in Khuzestan for the construction of a new petrochemical industrial city, to at least move away the source of pollution from the residential areas of the province.

According to Nassrollah Seifi, managing director of Iranian Fuel Conservation Company, energy consumption in Iran is three times higher than the global average, which definitely leads to the emission of more gas flaring.

Warning against Iran's rising energy consumption and reliance on fossil fuels, Seifi pointed to an IFCO report stating that by 2030, Iran's oil production will only be adequate to meet domestic demand.

"With a population of 80 million people, Iran's consumption rates in some energy sectors equal those of China with 1.3 billion people," he said.

Iran's short-term goal, as outlined in the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2017-22), is to reduce energy consumption index by half to 0.56, down from the current 1.12.?


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