All but 15 percent of Lake Orumieh, Iran's largest inland lake, has disappeared, environmental experts say.
Hassan Abbasnejad, the head of the Western Azerbaijan Province Department of the Environment, told IRNA on Sunday November 17: "Only six percent of the southern part of the lake currently remains and in total 85 percent of the lake area has been lost."
Lake Urmia (Orumieh) is a salt lake in northwestern Iran near Turkey. The lake is between the provinces of East Azarbaijan and West Azarbaijan, west of the southern portion of the similarly shaped Caspian Sea. It is the largest lake inside Iran, and the third salt water lake on earth, with a surface area of approximately 5,200 km square (2,000 mile square). ( View Larger Map)
Abbasnejad added that the lake's drying up has multiple consequences, including an increase in cancer and respiratory diseases. He added that agricultural development in the region is not feasible given the damage caused to the lake.
Many experts have pointed to agricultural development and dam building as the main causes of Lake Orumieh's rapid depletion in recent years.
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