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Mirshad Behzadi: Lake Urmia Needs More Attention

Lake Urmia Iran

During the recent years, ecologists have raised many questions about the measures taken by Iranian government with regard to conserving Lake Urmia.

Mirshad Behzadi, an Iranian ecologist, says the construction of Kalantari route has heavily damaged the natural environment of Lake Urmia.

“Unfortunately the provincial officials should not support the construction of this highway over Lake Urmia. According to studies conducted by local universities, the operations of this highway will completely destroy the environment of Lake Urmia.” Behzadi told the Herald Boy.

Iranian government has already suggested pumping water from Aras River to Lake Urmia. “It is not recommended to transfer water from Aras River to Lake Urmia. By launching this project, the environment of Aras River will be affected negatively. Also running this plan will cost a lot.” Mirshad Behzadi warned against pursuing similar programs.

Mirshad Behzadi also went on to criticize the Iranian government for not taking advantage of international supports. “In recent years, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has supported the Iranian government for preserving and guarding Lake Urmia. This organization has donated large amounts of money to the government in the hope of increasing protection measures for Lake Urmia. But the Iranian government has not used the allocated budgets appropriately.”

Lake Urmia is an internationally registered protected area as both a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Ramsar site.

He declared that Iran has received supporting loans from World Bank in this regard. “On the other hand, Islamic Republic of Iran has received huge amounts of loans from World Bank under the excuse of preserving Lake Urmia. However, these moneys have not been invested in guarding this important lake.”

Lake Urmia is the largest lake in the Middle East, and the third largest saltwater lake on earth, with a surface area of approximately 5,200 km².

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