People, Environment

Lack of Waste Management Hampers Haraz Dam Operation

Lack of Waste Management  Hampers Haraz Dam OperationLack of Waste Management  Hampers Haraz Dam Operation

Haraz Dam will not become operational unless an efficient waste management strategy is adopted to tackle the growing bulk of garbage in the vicinity of Haraz River, the head of the office of Department of Environment in Mazandaran Province said.

Parts of the banks of Haraz River have been used as a waste depot over the last 30 years, leading to the inflow of massive leachate and turning the riverside into an intolerably stinking area.

According to Hosseinali Ebrahimi Karnami, in the early stages of the dam project, the Mazandaran Regional Water Company officially pledged to solve the waste disposal problem in the area within a maximum two years prior to the dam's inauguration, ILNA reported.

Karnami noted that the project's completion is near, but the waste problem keeps on getting worse.

Haraz flows northward from the foot of Mount Damavand across Larijan, through Amol city, and finally to the Caspian Sea between Mahmoudabad and Fereydoun-Kenar.

"The construction of Haraz Dam, located 20 km south of Amol, kicked off in early November 2009. The dam is 150 meters high and has the capacity to store 250 million cubic meters of water," Mohammad Ebrahim Yakhkeshi, the head of Mazandaran Regional Water Company, said earlier.

However, environmental experts believe that given the short distance of the dam from the bulk of wastes, the dam's reservoir will soon turn into a sewage lake.

The seriousness of the condition recently impelled Mazandaran's prosecutor to ban waste disposal in the region, urging relevant officials to take measures to address the problem of waste already dumped there.

"DOE and the people strongly support the decree," Karnami said.

The northern provinces of the country, especially forests, lakes and coastlines, have been suffering poor waste management for quite a long time. All kinds of trash are dumped in the nature, thanks to outdated and unsanitary methods used by municipalities.

Waste is disposed with no specialized study on the geological features of the region or the state of groundwater resources.

This can cause the spread of contaminants and diseases to rural and urban areas, and cattle might feed on these materials. Besides, due to heavy rainfall in the northern areas, effluents can be carried downstream.  

Experts stress that municipalities must be tasked with using standard and up-to-date techniques, and import modern waste-burners to dispose of rubbish, turn it into compost or use it to generate electricity.

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