Arab countries are responsible for 70 percent of the untreated wastewater flow into the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf, the coordinator at the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME) said.

“Iran accounts for 30 percent of the wastewater flow into the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf,” Hassan Mohammadi said, adding that, “60 percent of the domestic wastewater flows into the Caspian sea.”

Oil and gas exploitation and tankers shipping out oil through the sea have made the marine environment sensitive to pollution, as out of 21 largest oil spill incidents seven occurred in the Persian Gulf, he pointed.

Additionally, he said, sunken ships can pose problems and are a big threat to the marine environment, “so we have embarked upon a comprehensive removal program for them.”

“ROPME has two systems, enabling us to watch the region and ships through satellites and in case we detect any violation we will arrest them immediately,” he highlighted.

One of the problems worldwide is illegal smuggling of hazardous waste materials through seas which is a very lucrative business for some countries, he regretted, adding that, chasing after ships aiming at dumping hazardous materials is a hard nut to crack for the International Police.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he commented on the desalination plants which are irreplaceable sources to Arab countries as they provide them with potable water and that they play by strict rules to minimize the harms to the environment.

“The first solar desalination plant was set up by the United Arab Emirates some years ago and it is still operating in the region,” he added.

“We are also preparing a protocol to protect this region’s biodiversity, including 100 types of fish, 300 types of dolphins, whales and sea cows,” he said.

“Moreover there are also five types of sea turtles which are of endangered species living in this area,” he lamented. (Tehran Times)