Iranian city of Mashhad (July 2023)

Nearly Half Of Iran's Population Exposed to Hazardous Dust Storms

Wednesday, 07/19/2023

Iran's health ministry revealed that approximately half of Iran's population is currently facing hazardous dust storms, posing serious risks to people's health.

Abbas Shahsavani, the head of the air health and climate change group in the Ministry of Health, disclosed the alarming information three days after the meteorological organization had already warned about the dangers of dust storms in five provinces.

Shahsavani further elaborated that, in addition to the eastern, southeastern, western, and southwestern provinces, the central regions, including Fars, Qom, and Arak have also been affected by the harmful storms.

"Dust storms significantly impact the health of our citizens," stated Shahsavani, highlighting the increasing hospitalizations and instances of heart and respiratory diseases caused by the adverse weather conditions. Moreover, human vision is also negatively affected by these storms.

One particular city, Zabol, located in Sistan-Baluchestan province, was identified as the most polluted city last year due to dust storms. The annual average concentration of suspended particles in Zabol exceeded the standards set by the World Health Organization by 16-fold, as reported by Shahsavani.

The causes of the dust storms were attributed to drought and climate change in Sistan- Baluchestan, leading to intensified winds for approximately 120 days each year.

Desertification also plays a significant role, with approximately one million hectares being added to Iran's deserts each year. This process is driven by the drying of wetlands, transforming them into "fine dust centers," according to Vahid Jafarian, the Director General of Desert Affairs of the Natural Resources Organization.

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