Hassan Abbasnejad

The head of environmental affairs for Western Azerbaijan province has issued another warning about the critical situation of Lake Oroumiyeh, which has been drying so rapidly that it’s leaving behind vast salt fields.

Hassan Abbasnejad, the head of the Western Azerbaijan Environment Organization, said on Friday: “Seventy percent of Lake Oroumiyeh’s area has already dried out, which means that 300,000 hectares of its surface area has turned into salt fields.”

He went on to criticize the minimal progress that has so far resulted from actions taken to combat the rapid drying. He stressed that recent heavy rains have not had much effect and that the lake needs a far more substantial amount of water in order to reverse its depletion.

The Ahmadinejad administration had made various promises about rescue plans for Lake Oroumiyeh, but so far they have yielded no significant results.

Lake Oroumiyeh, the largest lake that lies completely within Iranian borders, has been drying out at a rapid rate in recent years, and experts say that at current rates, it will completely disappear within three to five years.