Heavy dust storms hit the western and southwestern provinces of Iran including Lorestan, Kordestan, Kermanshah, and Khuzestan on Wednesday, making breathing difficult for people and forcing officials to take some stopgap measures like closing the schools and government offices.
The dust storm also reached Tehran on Wednesday and the dust
pollution reached an alarming level.
Health officials have warned about the aggravation of respiratory diseases and advised the elderly and children to stay indoors.
According to the latest reports, in Kermanshah heavy dust storm significantly reduced visibility and in Lorestan the amount of floating dust particles in the air was nine times higher than the permitted level.
MP criticizes government for ignoring dust storm
Fakhreddin Heydari, who represents Kordestan Province in the parliament, has criticized the government and the Foreign Ministry for failing to take appropriate measures to mitigate the environmental issue.
"Despite all efforts to resolve the issue, officials could not manage the crisis of dust storms," Heydari said at the Majlis open session on Wednesday.
"I am sorry that the government's negligence has made breathing difficult for people in the southern and western parts of the country," he said.
The lawmaker also called on the government and the Foreign Ministry to try to resolve the issue in cooperation with the neighboring countries.
The dust storms descend on Iran from the deserts and dried-up ponds of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Many ponds which were once located in the arid and desert regions stretching from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea to Iran have gone dry over the years. This ongoing desertification process has greatly increased the number of dust storms in the region and every year heavy dust storms envelope more than half of the country.
In 2009, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement according to which Iraq should have poured oil derivative mulch on deserts, but Iraq did not fulfill its commitment.
Later, a number of lawmakers representing constituencies in southern and western Iran lodged a motion warning the foreign minister and the president about the recurrent dust storms afflicting citizens in those areas. However, the government so far has not taken any serious measure to tackle the issue.
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