Claiming “oil” from the ” Hur Al Athem ” it has no end. From 2008 where oil extraction has been reached to the “last survivor wetland in Mesopotamia”, extreme degradation taken place to destroy Hur Al Athem every day.
7 thousand 800 hectares of wetland (southern Hur Al Athem) to develop and extract the Azadegan oil field has been granted to the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum. After that in northern part of Hur Al Athem that is the only living part, oil exploration and extraction permission was issued.
The unauthorized and non-professional process of excavating, discharge of waste oil and stopping the water inlet to the wetland, it was part of the consequences of this project. But the story does not end there. Ahwaz Director General of the Environment indicated that Oil Ministry has recently puts pressures on him to issue new roads licenses in the centre of wetland.
Ahmad Reza Lahijanzadeh stated, “oil companies begun peddling new roads (antenna roads) in the Hur Al Athem.”
He says that: “it has been four years that Hur Al Athem and wetland’s areas are systematically deprived of having access to water and even there are some wetland areas which oil companies have not certain activities but they are stop flowing water into wetland.”
Hur Al Athem Fragmentation
By construction of four roads, Shatt Ali, Sayed Alshohada, Hemat and Imam Reza, wetland divided into five pools.
Over 20 years after the end of war between Iran-Iraq, the Iranian authority have done nothing for the integration of Hur but now at least two basins of Hur contain water. Other Three basins are dried up by Oil activities.
But the story seems more serious than a warning of environment’s Director General. As one source says “North-south roads called “Ekteshaf Road ” and “Tabar roads” that were made in the past few years, Have a greater adverse effects on the Hur Al Athem ecosystem.
The expert, who wanted his name to be unknown, added that: “Eight antenna roads (known as pads) were built to connect the main roads where their number could reach to 90 roads. Length of these roads is about two Thousand meters and a width between 9 to 20 meters.”
He explains: “The Hur roads construction are not approved by the environmental department and only have been carry out by the oil ministry’s pressure as the road construction project within wetland continues.”
He added that:” by constructing of the roads and Hur fragmentation, the course of water flowing between different parts interrupted significantly which led to the emergence of swamp and stinking water and increase in death toll aquaculture species.”
One-third of the Hur is in Al Ahwaz and the rest is in Iraq.
This Hur is very rich in natural resources and these resources are exposed to the death due to lack of water in the Hur!
The Hur is consists of various branch of rivers like Al Karkha, Duwairech and a part of Shat Al Arab water way.
The depth of the Hur is not much, but it is getting deeper in the middle and the Hur covered by reeds.
The declared Hur’s area from the Department of environment in Al Ahwaz is 118000 hectares.
The Hur is situated in the west of Al Ahwaz, at the end of Karkha River and by the Maysan region border with Iraq.
Due to lack of required secure water, and the construction of dams on the Karkheh River that led to the instability ofthis river, in addition to throwing trash in it by the industrial companies, the Al Athem Hur is approximately dead.
It should be noted that half of the Hur was dried right after the revolution in Iran.
Ahwaz’s possession of the Hur was 64100 hectares, and it is now only 29000 hectares.
Which mean the half of the Hur is totally destroyed.
The people and villages in that area are depending on the natural resources of the Hur for their living, but now the situation of Hur has a negative impact on the economic life of people.
It is important to mention that the Madenat Al Rafeie, one of the villages that established next to the Hur long time ago, its disappeared completely because its people forcibly went to other places.
These are the names of some villages that are totally depending on the Hur for living and now there is a serious danger threats their lives:
Hascha , Lolya , Ama , Kasr , Machrya , Mhayera , Saideya , Abo Challach , Meshmesheya , jeraya , Tabbar , Shat Ali , Zohaireya , Barga , Bars .
At the end, it is well to mention that the drought of the Hur caused frequent sandstorms,
which have 21 percent more particle atoms than the usual rate.
Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights