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Shadgan internationally known wetland in serious danger

TEHRAN, Sept. 3 (Mehr News Agency) - Enjoying a warm arid climate, Shadgan is a southern city of Khuzestan Province 971 kilometers from Tehran. Existence of Iran's two major wetlands, Shadgan and Hoor-al-Azeem in the region has created an important wildlife habitat, home to various species of wildlife.

The vast wetlands with reed beds, the coasts of the Persian Gulf in the south and snow-clad high mountains in the north and east of Khuzestan Province totally have created a unique ecosystem that could easily be turned into a major tourism attraction yet unknown to many Iranians.

In the 1975 Geneva Convention on the International Marshlands held in Ramsar, Iran, Shadgan was registered as the world's sixth wetland. Shadgan had been chosen from among over 1300 world's famous wetlands, the Persian service of Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) said on Sunday.

Although over 400,000 hectares of the area has been designated a conservation area and hosts diverse migratory African or Indian birds, wild goat, wild sheep, brown bear, gazelle, wolf, fox, partridge, dull-yellow partridge, eagle, crab, lobster, snake, sea turtle, dolphin, and different endemic and migrant birds like flamingo, pelican, the region suffers a heavy environmental blow which are mainly the consequences of stupid decisions.

In the year 2,000, due to an oil leakage from the worn out old oil pipes passing through the area, over 100,000 hectares of Shadgan wetland was contaminated as a result of which thousands of migratory birds died on the banks of wetland and Bahmanshir River flowing in the oil-rich city of Abadan. Many more fish and aquatic plants and animals also perished in the catastrophe.

In the fall of 2004, while constructing a boulevard in Abadan, 35,000 cubic meters of oil refinery wastes were dug out and in utter disregard to their poisonous nature were dumped in the waters of Shadgan. For over sixty years, since the beginning of the Abadan oil refinery, the waste material were dumped in an area far away from the city called Gaissy and were covered up with earth. Eventually this area became part of the city of Abadan (due to its growth) and for years the poignant odors of the evaporating gases from these waste matters caused discomfort to people.

Based on this, and due to the fact that Shadgan Wetland opens into Persian Gulf, more studies should be conducted in the future to show the full scope of imminent danger to the wetland's ecosystem and its debilitating long-term effect on the environment of the whole area.

The internationally known wetland is in serious danger.

... Payvand News - 9/4/06 ... --

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