Salt Storms Threaten Gavkhuni Wetlands

 Salt Storms Threaten Gavkhuni Wetlands Salt Storms Threaten Gavkhuni Wetlands

Neglect of Gavkhuni wetlands in Isfahan Province has proved expensive. Without water, the wetlands are drying up leading to the threat of salt storms.

At present, the plan to transfer water from the tributaries of the Karun River in Chahar Mahal Bakhtiari Province to Zayandehrud River is being discussed, but there is no agreement on its implementation, said Babak Sepehriyan Nasab, Faculty member of Isfahan University.

Disappearance of the wetlands will result in severe salt storms, it is feared. A salt storm is a low-lying cloud of airborne salt that hovers over large areas, the result of wind sweeping over salt flats.

Ban Steel Factories

The Department of Environment (DoE) should ban the growth of the steel industry in central part of the country as its consequences are: increase of heavy metals in water and air, high consumption of scarce water resources, and pollution, he said. 

Isfahan Province has faced water scarcity in the past few years which has resulted in Zayandehrud River drying up, which in turn has created drought in Gavkhuni wetlands and costly environmental hazards in central parts of Iran, IRNA reported.

Salt storms can pose a serious health hazard to surrounding areas. Run-off water from nearby farms has resulted in pollution of Zayanderud River and Gavkhuni wetland with toxins like pesticides and fertilizers. As the wetland evaporates, the toxic pollutants in the water crystallize along with other minerals to form salt flats. When the toxins and minerals from the salt flats blown into the air by storms inhaled, they may cause throat and lung cancer, infant mortality, decreased life expectancy and birth defects.

Salt storms can also cause chemical damage to structures.