People, Environment

Aras River Not Decontaminated Yet

Aras River Not Decontaminated Yet    Aras River Not Decontaminated Yet

While decontamination measures are underway, laboratory studies on the waters of Aras River in northwestern Iran have revealed no signs of heavy metals in the river's water, an official at the Department of Environment announced.

Shina Ansari, the head of DOE's Environmental Monitoring Office, explained that heavy metals exist in the sediments of the riverbed, but the pollution has not leaked into the water, IRNA reported.

“The pollution in sediments is due to the mineral waste from copper and molybdenum mines located upstream and household waste released into the river,” she said.

Aras River has long been struggling with pollution caused by effluents from Armenian power plants and aluminum factories, compelling the officials to think of a solution.

In 2013, the Iran-Armenia joint project of monitoring Aras water became operational in 17 stations across the provinces of Ardabil, East and West Azarbaijan.

As per the agreement, Iranian and Armenian experts constantly analyze the chemical features of the river's water and the amount of heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, and lead.

Aras River’s water surface, riverbed and sedimentation are monitored regularly based on standards approved by the two sides. Armenia has agreed to establish three wastewater treatment centers to prevent contamination.

“So far, Armenia has built one treatment plant and two others are currently under construction,” Ansari said.

According to the agreement, Armenian ministers of energy and environment, Yervand Zakharyan and Aramayis Grigoryan, respectively have pledged to completely decontaminate the river by 2017. Nine months from the deadline's expiration, contaminants have not yet been completely removed.

Authorities believe that the river’s pollution poses serious health risks to people living in northwestern Iran, particularly in Moghan Plain in Ardabil Province where cancer fatality rate is high. Aras River flows through Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Its Iranian sections pass through the provinces of East and West Azarbaijan and Ardabil.


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