December 7, 2016

Southern Azerbaijan: Industrial Pollution of River Araz Harms Regional Ecosystem

Photo Courtesy of Araz News

The wastewater of an Armenian nuclear power plant and aluminum plant is discharged into the river Araz, causing devastating harm to the ecosystem of the wider region, including Northern provinces of Southern Azerbaijan. Southern Azerbaijanis have repeatedly protested against this detrimental dumping of sewage water, but Iranian government officials have not taken any concrete measures regarding this issue. The livelihood of the people of Southern Azerbaijan is severely threatened by Armenian factories dumping pesticides, industrial effluents and nuclear wastes into the river, all of which causes severe environmental and health problems. The pollution has already led to an increase in cancer cases in Southern Azerbaijan’s Araz region.

Below an article published by Araz News:

Armenia’s nuclear power plant and aluminum plant wastewater entering the river Araz, which its news has leaked a few years ago by environmental activists to the media, have jeopardized the ecosystem of the river and the life of the residence of this region.

Ardabil Tabnak site by inserting a report regarding to the “indifference” of the officials have criticized them and argued that this has led to the discontent of the public towards them.

Some industrial wastewater from factories in Armenia that goes straight to the “Araz” has caused the increase of life threatening diseases such as cancer in the vicinity of the river.

The report added that despite repeated protests and demands of residents, officials of the Iranian government have not taken any concrete measures regarding this issue.

Kamaladdin Pirmoazzen spokesman for the ninth parliamentary faction of the environment and sustainable development and Ardabil representative, last year [2015] in July has criticized Armenia due to their industrial pollution in River Araz.

This issue is not only subject to Ardabil and Moghan. Unfortunately, all the people of South Azerbaijan who are living near the Araz River watershed are threatened by pesticides, industrial effluents and nuclear wastes of Armenian factories.

According to the report last year Hamid Ghasemi Director General of Environmental Protection of Eastern Azerbaijan, In a statement, referring to entry of industrial effluents in Araz River from the Republic of Armenia which has cause severe environmental and health problems, It was said that after long negotiations with Armenian parties they finally agreed to take responsibility and were required to address this problem.

He said that if the pollution is not stopped, no doubt, in the near future serious risks to the environment and health, agriculture, livestock and humans are imposed.

After over a year and a half, not only the Armenian authorities have not taken any action regarding their responsibility, but according to reports, the amount of pollution from industrial effluents entering the river has increased!

In this regard, Shakur Pourhossein Parsabad representative in a provincial official meeting on Sunday 18 October [2016] with Secretary of Energy in Ardabil said that entry of industrial effluents in the Araz River from the Republic of Armenia has led to an increase in cancer cases in the region.

During the meeting, he said the problem between the two countries dates back to commitments and we urge the Iranian government to enter into negotiations with Armenia in order to prevent the entry of the sewer to the Araz River.

Parsabad and Bilasuvar representative said in Parliament that I’m surprised from the government that despite months of coverage in the media, a step in this direction has not been taken and we want to make Armenia to commit to a serious act.

The representative also said that the Iranian government can demand compensation from Armenia since the diseases in Parsabad and Bilasuvar regions are due to industrial waste entering from Armenia.