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Wetland Conservation And Fallahieh (Shadegan) Exclusion

Photo curtsey of Financial Tribune
(An arial photo from Fallahieh wetlands ) 

The 400,000 hectare Fallahieh (Shadegan) wetland in  south of Al-Ahwaz is the largest in Iran and fourth international wetland in the world . 

 Fallahieh wetland is registered under (Shadegan) in Ramsar convention ,which is an international treaty for the conservation of wetlands .

Other important list in this convention is the Montreaux record . The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the list of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference . 

Since 1975 Fallahieh has been registered in this record ,unfortunately no real measures has been taken to conserve this valuable ecosystem which is not only important for the indigenous Arab population of South-west region whose only source of income is fishing and agriculture in these wetlands  ,but it is also home to a diverse species of birds ,fishes and mammals  . 

 Once upon a time more than 40 kinds of birds ,emigrated from areas as far as Russia ,but more and more of these birds are becoming instinct ,unfortunately during the past 4 decades, excessive dam construction, water malemanagment, corruption, unrestricted oil extraction ,oil leakage ,  failure to uphold Fallahieh's water rights , and disposal of industrial waste and chemicals remaining from Iran/Iraq war has transformed  the once thriving wetland to a barren land . 

There is a document in the website of wetland conservation project under this title “Conservation of Iranian Wetlands , priority projects “ which was created by the cooperation of Environment Protection Organisation and United Nation Development Project (UNDP).

What is interesting about the document is that ,although Fallahieh (Shadegan) has been in the Montreux list for the past 4 decades ,however its name is no where to be found in the report . In the previous phases of wetland conservation project between the year 2005-2013 ,Fallahieh was one of the three main sites to be conserved along with Lake Urmia and Parishan wetland ,but the new report on the project’s website which unfortunately is in Farsi only , does not identify Fallahieh wetland as a priority . 

 Link to report in Persian :

Dismissal of Two Provincial Officials From Al-Ahwaz in Less Than a Week

Removal of the second official in Al-Ahwaz as demonstrations against pollution and power outages entered its fifth day .

Following the dismissal of Hashem Baledy, the general director of provincial crisis management on February 15th of this year, today “Shahryar bazrkar “ ,the  General Director of provincial natural resource became the second official to be removed from his position . 

These dismissals are being announced, as civilians in different cities and areas of Al-Ahwaz carrying demonstrations ,demanding a solution for their long lasting problems with environmental pollution and mismanagement and repeated neglect by officials to address these issues . 

Hundred of videos and photos from demonstrators are circulating the social media where they are calling for resignation of officials who according to demonstrators have failed in their duties to change the current situation . 

People and environmental activists wore masks on their mouth while holding placards with slogans such “Ahwaz has no Air “ , “ No Air, No water, no electricity ,till when …? and other demonstrators with slogans saying “we are apolitical and just demanding our rights” . 

Drought that is a result of excessive and unauthorised dam building , concentration of petrochemical and oil industries, mismanagement of water resources and failure of Environmental Protection Organisation , headed by Masoumeh Ebtekar who is also the current Iranian Vice president , both on national and local level had a colossal damaged on the environment and interrupted the daily lives of citizens in various cities in the south-west region of Al-Ahwaz . 

Turmoil and Instability in Various cities of AI-Ahwaz

After water and power outages in several cities of Al-Ahwaz since yesterday 13th of February ,thousands of Ahwazi citizens took the streetd and demonstrated in front of the municipality building  . 

Demonstrates chanted slogans and demanded the resignation of Masoumeh Ebtekar ,vice president of Iran  and head of Environmental Protection Organization

Repeated sand storms , constant water and electricity outages , air pollution and water mismanagement has changed the environment of Al-Ahwaz and the daily lives of its citizens from bad to worse. 

This civil disobedience seems to be gaining momentum in certain poverty-stricken  cities and towns in Ahwaz . This continuity of the civil disobedience is exceeding anything witnessed in the past . 

Concurrent with these demonstrations , towns and cities of Fllahieh (Shadegan) and Khalafieh (Ramshir ) , and other poor areas which are almost exclusively Arabs due to lack of oil industries , are marching the streets in protest of indiscriminately shooting of Ahwazi Arab citizen “Hasan Alboghobeysh” and in solidarity with this martyr’s family and friends .