DoE Opposition to Oil Drilling Futile

DoE Opposition to Oil Drilling FutileDoE Opposition to Oil Drilling Futile

Deputy head of the natural environment and biodiversity office at the Department of Environment (DoE) says the DoE often voiced its opposition to oil-extraction methods in the Hoor al-Azim wetlands. However, the appeals and protestations fell on deaf ears.

Ahmadali Keykha criticized the outdated drilling procedures in the now almost dried up wetland , and said “If they have the know-how to set up an offshore oil platform, it could be claimed that they can set up an oil rig on land. But they decided to dry up the wetland obviously to save money.”

He took stock of the adverse health effects of the desiccated wetland, saying that over time it will take a toll on the people across the region. “That is precisely why we need to invest in protecting our wetlands and ecosystems.”

The DoE is not against oil extraction per se, but promotes “scientifically sound and environmentally friendly” extraction methods, IRNA quoted him as saying.

Recalling the recent dust storm which swept across Khuzestan Province last month, he blamed human negligence and misuse of natural resources for a major part of the deepening problem.

Dust and particulate storms disrupted life in the key province and other neighboring regions last month leading to the closure of schools and government offices and filling emergency health centers, essentially crippling the province.

“To extract oil, they built a wide road which cuts through the wetland, dividing it in half; one half is filled with water and the common reed, while the other is completely dried up, much to our dismay.”

In spite of opening one of the levees to allow water into the wetlands, Keykha says the amount of water is not enough and more levees need to be opened. “For the sake of protecting the biodiversity, we at the DoE believe and insist that the water rights of all wetlands in Iran be uphled,” he stressed. “Protecting our wetlands will not only benefit Iran’s biodiversity, but will also help augment public health. We need to put a stop to our destructive habits, lest we cause irreversible damage.”

Hoor al-Azim is a transboundary wetland located on the border of Iran and Iraq and is fed by Karkheh River, Daviraj River, and a branch of Arvand River.

Hoor al-Azim’s renowned ecosystem is on the brink of destruction due to obsolete and outdated oil-extraction operations, which have rendered the wetland dry, turning it into one of the sources of dust and particle pollution in the region.