TODAY.AZ / Voice of Diaspora

US Azerbaijanis vow saving Lake Urmia

01 September 2011 [15:38] - TODAY.AZ
American Azerbaijanis under the umbrella of the USAN organization launched another campaign vowing to save the Lake Urmia in the West Azerbaijan province of Iran.

US Azerbaijanis call the drying of Urmia an international disaster and remind that it’s the third largest salt-water lake in the world, the largest lake in the Middle East and one of the environmental wonders of the world.

The lake is registered as a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO and is listed as a wetland of international importance under the 1971 Ramsar Convention, to which the Government of Iran included lake Urmia on June 23, 1975/

The Diaspora says that “due to reckless and irresponsible irrigation and infrastructure projects (bridges, hydro-electric stations, dams), that disregard environmental impact assessments, lake Urmia, which was listed at 483,000 hectares at the time of the Ramsar Convention, has shrunk by up to 70% in area size and its depth has fallen by seven meters. This is clearly visible from Google Maps, where huge salt-covered areas are now dry, serving as a reminder of the lake’s former size and splendor”.

The Azeri Diaspora says, citing experts, “if the lake completely dries up, then up to 10 tones of salt will be released into the atmosphere resulting in an ecological catastrophe not only in Azerbaijani cities of Iran, and as far away as the capital city of Tehran, but also to neighboring countries, such as Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Millions of people could be displaced, resulting in refugees and additional burden on neighboring countries”.

“The US Azeris Network calls upon the US Government and Congress to use its influence and position in the United Nations and its agencies, as well as calls on all environmental NGOs to put additional pressure on the government of Iran to take immediate actions to fulfill their commitments to preserve lake Urmia”.


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