The chief of Iran’s Department of Environment (DOE) and the director general of Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) discussed issues related to Hamoun Lake preservation.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), which was held on May 23-27 in Kenya, DOE website reported.
Mentioning the Hamoun Lake being registered as a biosphere reserve registered by UNESCO, DOE chief Masoumeh Ebtekar called on bilateral cooperation to save and revive the lake.
She additionally suggested for a working group to form in order to boost and environmental cooperation between the two nations.
The Afghan official, Mustafa Zaher, for his part, welcomed Ebtekar’s suggestion pointing Afghanistan’s readiness to cooperate with Iran and that they are willing to sign an agreement on the matter.
Hamoun is a shallow and marshy lake, located in the Sistan region of eastern Iran and western Afghanistan. It is fed by the Helmand River, which starts in the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan.
When droughts occur in Afghanistan, or the water in watersheds that support lake is drawn down by other natural or human-induced reasons, the end result is a dry lake bed in Iran. In addition, when the lake is dry, seasonal winds blow fine sands off the exposed lake bed.
The sand is swirled into huge dunes that may cover a hundred or more fishing villages along the former lake shore. Wildlife around the lake is negatively impacted and fisheries are brought to a halt. Changes in water policies and substantial rains in the region hope to affect a return of much of the water in Hamoun Lake.