At COP26, attention turns to Iran’s environmental problems

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) enters its final day, discussions on the increasing number of storms, floods and wildfires around the world have been on the agenda. . The impacts of climate change are devastating, affecting the lives of tens of millions of people each year.

There are several advances to combat climate change that lead to cleaner air and the restoration of nature, but it is a slow process. If the countries of the world join forces to help each other, the sooner we can see greater improvements.

Iran is a disaster-prone country due to its geological and climatic location, facing both floods and droughts. The variation in these pressures reflects the great diversity of the country’s climatic and geophysical zones.

Massive deforestation, the deterioration of ecosystems and the rapid desertification of agricultural lands exert 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 actions causing deforestation and desertification. An important task is to provide education and training to all citizens to help them better respond 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 enable better earthquake prediction technology, as well as to improve and implement anti-seismic building regulations throughout the country.

Population density and its distribution is a major pressure factor with transport, mainly in urban areas, as well as issues such as the age, number and fuel consumption of vehicles.

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

Despite promises of reform, human rights abuses are still “commonplace” in Iran. Among the groups targeted are environmental activists, with more than 60 activists and researchers arrested in 2018.

Widespread unrest across Iran has been accumulating in recent years, with environmental problems faced by citizens being one of the causes, other issues being severe economic decline and the rule of the regime as a whole.

The most serious environmental problem currently facing Iran is drought. However, this is not a natural situation. The severe water shortage was created by the Iranian government due to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) dam construction projects, as well as the regime’s institutionalized corruption and mismanagement of water resources. already rare.

This crisis has led to the abandonment of thousands of villages as the land becomes unsustainable. Forecasts suggest that millions of people will eventually be displaced as the problems worsen.

Natural climatic variability, 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 man-made, which is the product of decades of absolutely poor management coupled with a lack of foresight, uncoordinated planning and to a poor perception of development.