The dust that has been blanketing Iran’s western and south-western provinces in recent days is coming from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria, Head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization (IEPO) Masoumeh Ebtekar said.
According to online maps, the dust particles that have blanketed vast areas of western and southern Iran, including Ilam, Kermanshah and Khuzestan provinces, are coming from Iraq, Ebtekar said in a post on social media on Saturday June 18.
She added that Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia have always been sources of dust storms and this is not a new phenomenon.
However, the official said, in recent years, due to consecutive droughts, rising temperatures and global warming, as well as war and conflicts in these areas, dust storms have multiplied.
Ebtekar also said this problem can be resolved through various measures like soil stabilization and planting trees once conflicts in Iraq and Syria are over.
Iranian residents in the western and south-western provinces that border Iraq are facing a growing trend in the influx of fine particles, which are generated by drought-hit marshlands in neighbouring countries.
The disruptive dust storms have pushed pollution in those border areas to alarming levels, raising health concerns.
The particles, carried by winds, can penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing serious diseases such as lung cancer, asthma and heart problems.