Pollutants Turn Caspian Sea Into Graveyard of Dangerous Wastes
Nowshahr, Mazandaran Prov., Iran, May 14, 2000 (IRNA) -- Environmentalists warn that with the new discovery of huge on-shore oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea by the littoral states the eco-system of this land-locked sea will further deteriorate.
Poisonous substances released in food processing activities, a continuous flow of detergents, mineral oil and hydrocarbons from neighboring states, as well as a regular current of radioactive particles emptied into the sea from the Volga River are the main causes of pollution, it was reported.
Mehrnoush Kia-Kojouri, head of the Department of Environment's Chalous and Nowshahr branches said the issue is not exclusively tied to the fish resources in the Caspian Sea but the entire environment itself.
"The flow of human waste, pesticides and oil leaked from tankers, muddy waters of rivers abutting southern coasts that enter the sea and are caused by the destruction of forests have all turned the Caspian Sea into a graveyard of dangerous substances," he said.
He attributed the general pollution of the Caspian Sea to the flow of about 41 billion cubic meters of chemical and industrial wastes from the Republic of Azerbaijan and Russia, adding that recent rumors of radioactive substances flowing into the sea through the Volga River, a matter of grave concern, have aggravated the situation.
He further believes that Caspian Sea pollution has, in part, been caused by the Chechen war.
However, "While pollutants have turned the eco-system of the Caspian Sea into a major environmental tragedy, it is not clear for what reason littoral states are trying to undermine the issue," he said.
The Caspian Sea forms a long, joint border for the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
According to Mohammad Qassemi, head of the Mazandaran Fishery Organization, 80 percent of the fish harvested in the Iranian portion of the Caspian Sea was made possible through efforts of experts of his organization who have cultured fries and released them into the sea.
The Caspian Sea is the main source of protein for inhabitants of the littoral states despite the fact that it is contaminated with different pollutants which give rise to various dangerous, infectious diseases.
"This is (what is happening and) at a time when the littoral states have so far failed to reach a general consensus on a legal regime to govern the Caspian Sea for an optimum utilization of is resources.