Sandstorms, like any kind of air pollution, know no borders.
Last Wednesday a viscous sandstorm in Iran forced schools and government offices to close. The more extreme than usual storm grounded some flights, and sent a number of people to hospital as well. According to the AFP, the Iranian media is blaming countries west of the Islamic republic, namely Iraq which is now suffering from deforestation and desertification due to a series of dams Iran has constructed.
“Unprecedented sandstorms which entered from west are the most violent storms that have ever reached Iran,” said Touraj Hemmati, an environmental official in the southwestern Khuzestan province bordering Iraq.
Lawmakers wrote a letter to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanding the government stop the sandstorms, which caused 123 people to seek emergency care in hospitals.
How any president can stop a sandstorm has me scratching my head. Sounds a bit like a child writing to Santa to stop global warming. But Iran can do some clean up close to home: Green Prophet Mehrdad reports on how Tehran and other Iranian cities have some of their own environmental clean up work to do, as cities are reaching pollution levels that are making them unlivable.
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