The MP representing Ahwaz has confirmed recent scientific findings that the regional capital in southwest Iran is the most polluted city on earth, slamming the Iranian authorities for their environmental negligence in a parliamentary speech.
In a speech in the Iranian parliament in Tehran, Mohammed Kazem Nasabolbaji, the MP representing the city said that the Iranian authorities care only about increasing oil and gas production in the Ahwaz region, known as Khuzestan in Farsi, which was once rich in wildlife but is now blighted by massive pollution.
The region, which contains over 95 percent of the oil and gas resources claimed by Iran, has been hit by a double whammy of pollution from the oil and gas drilling operations on the one hand and massive desertification on the other, with the regime damming and rerouting the major rivers which once fed farming communities and internationally renowned marshlands that were home to a vast range of wildlife. In his parliamentary speech, Nasabolbaji slammed the policy of rerouting the rivers and unrestrained oil drilling without any regard for the horrendous effect on the regional environment, saying, “Drying up a major part of the Hor al-Azim marshlands in order to extract oil is a tangible instance of this approach.”
He added that while the Iranian oil ministry voices pride in trebling oil production levels in the region from one million barrels per day to three million, none of the facilities have heeded the warnings and sanctions imposed over the catastrophic environmental effects of their operations, asking rhetorically, “Which facilities or equipment have been renovated [to reduce pollution levels] after sanctions over the thick smoke polluting Khuzestan from the extraction of these amounts of oil?”