Ahwazi: Pollution Threatens Livelihoods
An Iranian petrochemical company has denied that the death of thousands of fish off the Mahshahr (Mashour) coast was related to its poor environmental standards.
The pollution is believed to have come from a nearby petrochemical complex run by the Bandar Imam Petrochemical Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned National Petrochemical Company, and has threatened the livelihoods of impoverished Ahwazi Arab fishermen. However, company managers have denied responsibility. Speaking to the Petroenergy Information Network, the manager of the National Petrochemical Company's environment unit Engineer Mohammad Taghi Jafar Zadeh claimed that further research was needed before a conclusion could be reached on the cause of the pollution. He claimed that if the company was responsible, it would have been a one-off accident rather than a long-term pollution problem. However,
Reza Vashahi, an Ahwazi human rights activist and researcher who lived for 25 years in Mahshahr, said: "This is not the first time the Mahshahr coast has been affected by pollutants from the petrochemical industry. But the government has always denied that state-owned companies are responsible and has suppressed information on environmental damage. It is well known that all effluent from the petrochemical industry is pumped untreated and unmonitored into the sea. Many local people suffer from high levels of dangerous chemical element in their food, particularly the poor fishermen who depend on fishing for their survival."