In all civilized nations preserving the environment is a must. Still, when it comes to the Iranian regime, this does not apply, and the regime itself is the source of the destruction of the environment.
The most significant environmental resources that the regime has destructed over the past years are the country’s water resources, lakes, and forests.
The destruction of these resources is not just damaging herbal and animal health; it is causing demographic changes, social crises in the surrounding area of these regions, and decreasing national security.
In a recent article, the state-run Etemad daily referred to the regime’s corruption in macro projects, which are a danger to the environment, writing, “According to statistics, there are more than 400 large infrastructure projects in the country that lack the necessary environmental permits. Naturally, such unlicensed projects should be stopped by the environmental organization. But these projects not only have not been stopped to date but according to wrong procedures, large budget allocations have been made for them so that their owners can continue their destructive activities.”
They added, “This is even though in the end, these projects lead to the destruction of the environment and destroy intergenerational wealth.”
Regarding the environmental organization of the regime, we face unprofessional officials, who are one of the main factors of decades of ecological destruction and have caused severe and irreparable damage to Iran’s environment.
The drying up of Lake Urmia, located in the northwest of the country, is one of the clear examples of environmental destruction in Iran. During the last four decades, this lake has largely been deprived of its natural water resources due to numerous non-scientific and non-expert activities in agriculture. This has created a dangerous, polluting crisis in this region.
With the gradual drying up of Lake Urmia, the following serious damages have been inflicted on the region and will grow over time:
- The decrease in population and the changing of the settlement pattern on both sides of the lake
- Natural hazards such as the loss of agricultural land, destruction of orchards, reduction of pasture, and salt-carrying winds.
- Mass migrations, ethnic tensions, and continuous popular protests
- Occurrence of incurable diseases
Discussing the destruction of Lake Urmia, Etemad also wrote, “Let’s be honest with ourselves. Lake Urmia had never been revived, and that is now drying up again. Urmia is on the path of absolute destruction, turning into a desert or salt marsh Urmia, and all Iranian governments were and are the cause of this situation in recent decades. Urmia will never be revived again.”
In recent decades, more than 50 percent of the 18 million hectares of forest land has been reduced. Forty-two percent of the forests in the country’s north are declining; since 1996, about 300 to 350 hectares have been damaged by pests and diseases.
For example, the boxwood species of plant, which is native to Iran and is known as Ruscus Hyrcanus, is currently used for AIDS and anti-cancer drugs, and so far, around 40 million of them have been lost.
Every year, three thousand hectares are reduced from the remaining area of the Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests in the north of the country, which is on the UNESCO natural heritage list. Forests with 90 species of trees, 211 species of shrubs, and the last reserves of broad-leaved trees with unique characteristics in the world exist naturally in Iran. Currently, the share of two sawmills in the east and west of this area is the annual harvest of 400,000 cubic meters of wood. Every year, 2 million cubic meters of timber are smuggled from Hyrcanian forests, and 400 hectares of forest lands are considered waste disposal sites.
These sites have ended the 50-million-year sustainability of this area due to the leakage of contaminated leachates.
The conditions of Zagros forests are not much better than what is happening in the north and northwest of the country. In the forests of Zagros, environmental destruction continues. In just four years, 2 million hectares of oak forests in this region have dried up.