Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that his administration prioritizes the protection of environment and providing people with a healthy life. He made the remarks while addressing a gathering of environmental activists and NGOs in Tehran on Saturday, days close to the World Environment Day on June 5.
He said that his administration highlights the importance of environment which is essential for a healthy life.
He went on to say that officials are religiously duty-bound to protect the environment.
In the past times, environmental issues were not regarded as something important, he stated.
But now all the people are aware of the importance of environment, he added.
Pointing to Lake Urmia, Rouhani said the environmental consequences of the lake will not just be limited to East and West Azerbaijan provinces, rather it can affect the whole country.
Lake Urmia is the third largest salt water lake on earth whose water has dried up more than 70 percent over the past few years.
Rouhani added that steps have been taken to restore the lake.
He also made a reference to the air pollution in some metropolitan cities in the country, saying the Oil Ministry has made efforts to reduce pollution by improving the quality of the petrol.
Rouhani stated that the first step to settle the environmental problems is to improve public awareness, noting that state media have great responsibilities in this respect.
Elsewhere in his remarks, he said that the government would take necessary actions to protect the environment and to resolve the environmental issues, adding that it has enacted some bills in this regard.
Time to deny environmental problems has passed
Masoumeh Ebtekar, the chairwoman of the Environment Protection Organization, said the time has passed to deny environmental problems.
"Now the era of denying environmental problems has passed," she told the ceremony.
She said the Rouhani government has taken a new approach toward environmental issues.
Ebtekar also said that the Environment Protection Organization as a supervisory body lacks the necessary power to guard the environment.
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Iranian Environment NGO gets newly revived Environment Prize
The Sabz Chia Association, an environmental protection group in Marivan, has been awarded Iran's National Environment Prize. The Cultural Heritage website reports that Sabz Chia has been chosen for its continued efforts to replenish forests and fight against the poaching of wildlife.
On Saturday May 31, the prize was awarded by President Hassan Rohani and Department of the Environment chief Massoumeh Ebtekar to Sabz Chia's administrators and activists.
The report adds that "Sabz Chia has made great progress in replenishing Zagros forests and they have also been very successful in creating an anti-hunting campaign in Kurdistan."
The second prize was awarded to the "Roftegaran Tabiat Iran" for their environmental clean-up projects.
The National Environment Prize was established during Mohammad Khatami's presidency but was abandoned in the past seven years under the Ahmadinejad administration. The Rohani administration has re-established it to reignite concern about environmental issues in the country and promote environmental awareness amongst the public.
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