Life in Iran TodayIn COP26, Attentions Turn to Iran’s Environmental Issues

In COP26, Attentions Turn to Iran’s Environmental Issues

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While the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in its last day, discussions about the increasing number of storms, floods, and wildfires around the world have been high on the agenda. The impacts of climate change are devastating, affecting the lives of tens of millions of people annually.

There are several advances to tackle climate change which are leading to cleaner air and restoring nature but it’s a slow process. If the countries of the world join forces to help each other, the sooner we can see bigger improvements.

Iran is a disaster-prone country due both to its geological and climatic situation, facing both flooding and drought. The variation of these pressures reflects the wide diversity of climatic and geophysical zones in the country.

Mass deforestation, deteriorating ecosystems, and the rapid desertification of agricultural land are placing significant pressures on Iran’s environment. Disaster planning is greatly needed to overcome the impacts of natural disasters in the country, as well as a reduction in the actions causing deforestation and desertification. An important task is to provide education and training for all citizens to help them respond better to natural disasters. As Iran is prone to relatively frequent earthquakes, there is a need to improve the research and monitoring of these events to allow for better earthquake prediction technology, as well as improving and implementing earthquake-proof building regulations throughout the country.

Population density and its distribution is a major pressure factor along with transportation, mainly in urban areas, also issues such as vehicle age, numbers, and fuel use.

With so many people packed into cities, great pressures are placed on resources. The effects of such urbanization include poor air quality, light pollution, noise, encroachment on green spaces, and excess pressure on waste disposal and recycling. The worse the conditions are, it can lead to serious the public health situations and sanitation issues. With the majority of Iran’s landmass mountainous, and the environmental issues causing rapid desertification, the remaining arable land is scarce at best, so the cities have seen a mass influx of people migrating to them.

Despite promises of reform, human rights violations are still “rife” in Iran. Among the groups that have been targeted are environmental campaigners, with more than 60 activists and researchers arrested in 2018.

Widespread unrest across Iran has been building in recent years, with the environmental issues faced by citizens as one of the causes, with the other issues being the severe economic decline and the regime’s rule overall.

The most serious environmental issue currently faced in Iran is droughts. However, this is not a naturally occurring situation. The severe water shortage has been created by the Iranian government due to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) dam construction projects, along with the regime’s institutionalized corruption and the mismanagement of already scarce water resources.

This crisis has led to thousands of villages being abandoned as the land becomes unsustainable. Predictions have suggested that millions of people will end up being displaced as the problems worsen.

Natural climate variabilities, climate change, droughts, and economic sanctions have had undeniable impacts on Iran’s environment and its water resources. Yet Iran’s environmental and water problems are mostly manmade, which is the product of decades of absolutely poor management coupled with lack of foresight, uncoordinated planning, and the wrong perception of development.

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