TEHRAN, Sept. 27 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iranian land artists will be gathering at Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran to hold the 24th Environmental Art Festival in early October.
The lake has been facing an environmental crisis for about seven years
according to experts and necessary steps must be taken to save the lake,
festival director Ahmad Nadalian told the Persian service of ISNA.
"The national park at the lake is turning into a salt marsh, and in case that continues, it will create a serious crisis for the inhabitants, agriculture, and wild life," he remarked.
"In addition, different types of pollutants are pouring into the lake causing increased sensitivity on the part of the residents. Environmental art can help introduce the natural attractions in the region and also familiarize people with Iran's environment and culture, and highlight the possible dangers," he explained.
"An area covering 150,000 hectares of the national park is a salt marsh and there is no sign of the 20,000 pairs of flamingos or the 12,000 pairs of pelicans that used to migrate to the lake," Nadalian lamented.
Lake Urmia was considered to be one of the largest natural habitats of the artemia, which serve as a food source for the migratory birds such the flamingo, but the artemia is also falling into oblivion.
Nadalian also remarked that the good thing about holding the festival in different regions in the country is that it helps provide a common ground for artists to meet and exchange views, "Collaboration in promoting peace and friendship are the positive aftermath of these programs."
Several workshops for local artists and students of the College of Fine Arts at the Urumiyeh University are also arranged during the festival running from October 7 to 9.
Also included is a conference named "Joint Art and the Intangible Possession of Artwork" during the festival.
The Municipality of Urumiyeh will provide accommodations for artists during the program and students from the College of Fine Arts of Urumiyeh University will be providing other facilities for the artists.
Ehsan Ratebi, who is making a documentary with the central theme of Iran's environmental art, will also be covering the 24th edition of the festival as well.
Lake Urmia is between the provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan. It is the largest lake in the Middle East, and the second largest salt water lake on earth, with a surface area of approximately 5,200km (2,000 square miles).
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