The head of Iran’s Environment Department says the people have to come to terms with the problem of dust particles because there is no short-term solution.

Massoumeh Ebtekar

Massoumeh Ebtekar

The Fars News Agency reports that Massoumeh Ebtekar addressed a gathering on the occasion of World Asthma Day, saying the dust storm problem in the Western part of the country is the result of several factors: “climate change in northern Africa and eastern Asia, reduced precipitation and rising temperatures, inappropriate water consumption models, war and conflict in the region and the abandonment of agricultural areas.”

Ebtekar said regional cooperation and assistance from international organizations could help in preventing further dust storms. She added, however, that no official can say that the problem of dust storms will be resolved in the next few years, so people should come to terms with it.

Iranian human rights groups have been critical of the government’s inaction in dealing with the dust storms, which have brought life to a halt in many Khuzestan cities in recent months, reducing visibility and making breathing difficult for residents walking outside.