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“Hur Al-Azim” wetland in the grip of oil pollution

More than 5 months after the promise of the head of the organization of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Governor of Khuzestan (part of Al-Ahwaz) that the oil facilities quickly leave the bed of the “Hur Al-Azim” wetland in order to accelerate the dewatering and restoration of the wetland, but reports indicate that Azadegan oil field development plan continues to be paid without attention to the situation. The wetland continues to be undesirable, and virtually no oil facilities have been removed from the wetland.

On the other hand, the construction of successive roads in the middle of the wetland and the drying of wetlands for the establishment of oil facilities, drainage of sugar cane in the wetland, and the lack of allocation of water resources from Karkheh River and the intensification of air temperatures have led to the recent widespread sections of the waterlogged wetlands and again dried and mortality rate of fish in areas where water is still as last year again been intensified.

Meanwhile, the director of the National Wetlands Conservation Plan, pointing out that the main causes of the death of fish in “Hur Al-Azim” wetland is due to severe oil pollution leakage and reduction of water levels, affect the mortality of fish, making the wetland’s biodiversity lost.

Mr. Abolfazel Abeshat the director of the National Wetlands Conservation Plan stated that the “Electro Shock” fishing is also causes the high death of fish in “Hur Al-Azim” wetland. “In this non-standard fishing method, by inserting electric shock into the water, the fish are placed on the water and collected easily” Mr. Abeshat said.

The false justifying of highly death of fish by Mr. Abeshat encountered with comments of the commander of the Environmental Protection Unit of Khuzestan (part of Al-Ahwaz) Province, in a conversation with Iran newspaper, commander said: “I do not confirm the use of the “Electro Shock” fishing for catching fish in “Hur Al-Azim” wetland, because it is not possible to use this device in the wetland at all.

Mr. Shir Mohamadi added: “In the “Hur Al-Azim” wetland, we have fresh water on one side, and because of physical control “Electro Shock” fishing cannot be used, and in another part of the wetland, which is fed by salted sugar cane water, the salinity level does not allow the use of the “Electro Shock” device. And whoever claims such a crude claim, I am ready to prove that it is not”.

In contact from the Centre with an Ahwazi environmental activist who wished to remain anonymous, the Centre has discussed the grounds behind the high rate of fish death in “Hur Al-Azim” wetland, the activist stated that there are various reasons behind the death which Iranian authorities does not want to reveal it where I will express them as following.

First by the construction of successive roads in the middle of the wetland and the drying of wetlands, there is a few water left in the wetland and most of the fishes are gathered in small water pond and the illegal discharge of chemicals by oil contractors’ sewage tankers in left small water, is also the first leading cause of mortality of wetland fish.

The second factor is also due to the lack of sufficient water allocation of the wetland by the Khuzestan (part of Al-Ahwaz) Water and Power Organization, where in most of the times the water will be cut off and these cut off to prevent oil installations from falling under water.

Third making successive roads in the wetland practically interrupts the water connection of each section with the other part, and in the seasons where the water level is reduced, the remaining water is faced with the reduction of oxygen and causes the death of the fish.

The activist stressed that, unfortunately, in most of the times the Iranian authorities neglect the fact that the wetland needs water, and if the water in the wetland is not provided, the roots of life will be eliminates in Al-Ahwaz, and today the dust caused by this lack of water allocation has intensified the migration from Ahwazi Arab land.

It is worth to mention that annually sugar cane waste water that entered the wetland, its brining more than 3 to 5 thousand tons of salt into the wetlands, due to which the salt lake has been created in the wetland.

Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights

30-09-2017

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