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Thursday, February 27, 2014

A President's priority






An abandoned ship near the Lake
Saving a dying lake was the first cabinet decision of the newly-elected Iranian president, Hussain Rouhani. Every other matter of vital importance to the country, including the issues surrounding its nuclear programme, was kept aside and action to prevent the nation's largest lake from disappearing assumed greater importance.


Lake Oroumieh is one of the biggest salt water lakes in the world. Over the years it has shrunk more than 80% to about 1000 square kilometres. The main causes put out by the experts are climate change, expanding irrigation and damming of rivers that feed the lake. Lakes in other parts of Iran are also facing similar crisis


The Iranian president's action indicates the importance he attaches to environment in general and water bodies in particular. Quite obviously he believes that water is life-sustaining and nothing could be of greater importance than securing it for his people That he
A view of the drying Lake
gave overriding priority to saving the Lake over myriad other problems the country is facing internally as well as externally says much about his vision and commitment to the cause of country's environment.


In India the head of the government, totally committed to GDP growth, has been mostly unconcerned about damage to environment so much so that he removed two ministers who happened to be heading the ministry of environment. Both were trying to protect the country's forests from the rapacious industry.


Another view of the Lake
Closer home the state chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, too, is unconcerned about environment. While his government has been merrily feeding the real estate lobby with prime forest and farm lands, he has allowed the thousand year old lake, unlike Lake Oroumieh a drinking water source, to slowly die. For the Iranian president saving the Lake Oroumieh was a national priority, saving the Bhopal lake does not figure anywhere in the chief minister's priorities.

All photos form the Internet

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