Over 46,000 hectares of Iran’s desert areas and dust storm hotspots will be mulched this year as part efforts to combat dust pollution across the country, the head of the National Headquarters for Combating Dust Storms said.
Scattering mulch over desert areas to prevent dust particles from being blown by winds is among the top priorities of the National Headquarters for Combating Dust Storms, Ali Mohammad Tahmasebi Birgani added.
Deserts make up around 25 to 27 million hectares of the land area in Iran and all are prone to wind erosion, he further said, IRNA news agency reported.
Tahmasebi urged for controlling dust storms in the country, adding that 22 Iranian provinces are now grappling with the dust storms, whose sources are either domestic or foreign.
Mulching, which refers to applying a layer of material on the surface of soil, has long been used as a solution to prevent sand and dust storms all over the world.
The most common type used in Iran to control high-density particulate matters and fine dust spread in the air is petroleum-based mulch whose ecological impact is still being debated.
A dust storm is a meteorological phenomenon common in arid and semi-arid regions. Dust storms arise when a gust front or other strong wind blows loose sand and dirt from a dry surface. Fine particles are transported by saltation and suspension, a process that moves soil from one place and deposits it in another.
Last year, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved Iran’s proposed resolution titled "Combating Dust Storms".
Iran's Ambassador to the UN Gholamali Khoshroo said that Iran is well familiar with the impacts of dust storms and for the same reason it has put countering it on its agenda.
He said that the UN resolution clearly emphasized that dust storms adversely affects public health, urging the UN and World Health Organization (WHO) to work out a global strategy to aid the affected countries.
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