0351 GMT February 19, 2019
“Dust concentration in Sistan-Baluchestan’s air has risen to 54 times the limit in the past three hours due to massive storms and rising amount of suspended solids and dirt,” Ali Mollashahi said on Monday.
He added that the concentration of fine dust in the province currently stands at 8,073 micrograms per cubic meter, while the normal volume of fine particles concentration is 150 micrograms per cubic meter.
On Sunday, Abdolrahman Shanavazi, the head of the province’s Crisis Management Center, said, “So far, 264 people have been taken to hospitals due to respiratory problems”.
Iranian residents in the southern provinces that border Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are facing a growing trend in the influx of fine particles, which are generated by drought-hit marshlands in neighboring countries.
In recent years, sand and dust storms in parts of southwestern Iran have caused periodic closures of schools, government offices, and businesses, bringing life to a standstill for residents. Many also fear the impact on their health.
Sand and dust storms have increasingly plagued countries across the Middle East. Although the exact cause of the increase in storms is not known, accelerated dam construction and diversion of water resources for agriculture throughout the region is thought to be the main culprit.