In a matter of three days, from January 19 o 21, 806 people were taken to emergency wards after a heavy dust storm hit Ahvaz, the largest city in southwestern Iran, announced the director of public relations at Medical Science University.
On Friday, January 19, 471 visited emergency wards and clinics while 39 of them were hospitalized and nine more were taken to intensive care units, announced Farhad Hamzehlouei.
Meanwhile, the head of Health Center in Khuzestan province reports that dust storms have significantly increased the number of people suffering from asthma and other respiratory and pulmonary complications.
The volume of dust pollutant in cities like, Ahvaz, Masjid Soleiman and Behbahan was nearly five to ten times more than the permissible average.
Air pollution in Khuzestan has reached an ominous level that, according to Khuzestan’s Prosecutor-General, Farhad Hosseini Pouya, “People are contemplating about emigrating from the province, since dust storms have damaged their health and disturbed their lives”.
Iranian media have recently published many reports about the skyrocketing levels of air pollution in Iran’s metropolitan cities, including Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, and Ahvaz, as well as cities in Sistan and Baluchestan Province.
Earlier, Iran’s vice president and the former head of the Environmental Protection Organization, Masoumeh Ebtekar had also warned of the deteriorating condition of some of the country’s wetlands and blamed Turkey for building too many dams.
“Excessive construction of dams in Turkey has plunged the Hoor al-Azim wetlands into a dangerous condition,” she said last June.
Ebtekar called on the Iranian Foreign Ministry to step in and save the wetlands from desiccation through talks with Ankara.
Turkey, however, has repeatedly dismissed such comments as unfounded.
On December 19, Iran’s current vice president and head of the Environmental Protection Organization Issa Kalantari admitted the government is helpless in confronting the problem.
“We should pray for winds to blow away the pollution," Kalantari concluded.