Sunday, July 24, 2005

Persian Gulf environment, Iraqi Marshlands and Ramsar Convention

p a r t . o n e: I n t r o d u c t i o n
S i a m a k . D. A h i
P e r s i a n . G u l f . E n v i r o n m e n t
I r a q i . M a r s h l a n d s
and R a m s a r . C o n v e n t i o n
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty for national action and international cooperation for the conservation of wetlands.

Pollution of Persian Gulf is a very complex issue. A less discussed and researched one. In the Persian Gulf region, the Environmental Consiousness was low and there was no comprehensive enviromenal policy. The need for such policies was also not as pressing as in Europe. Environmental problems were not present in people's every day life, as it was the case in many industrial countries. Particularly the pollution of sea waters, which was happening far from their city, home and their daily life.

International organizations though, on occasions expressed their concerns about Persian Gulf pollution and even called it "The Most Polluted Body of Water". But the international community didn't pay much attention to it. The media didn't care about it. The companies in oil industry involved in this region, which come from all over the world, were of course, not interested in this particular issue. It could cost them hugely. In fact they were interested in covering up any environmental failure or disaster.

High Traffic of vessels for oil transport, made Persian Gulf the Most Polluted Body of Water.

Persian Gulf Wars, created black clouds, black rains and spread Radioactive Dust all over Persian Gulf Region...! These Gifts of Civilized World to Persian Gulf to be studied on one hand, and on the other hand, the water and lif in and around Persian Gulf, independent from oil or war, to be studied and monitored in much greater sense.
The basin is what we should know all about. We should know about all the rivers that run to Persian Gulf, About the ports and cities that dump their waste in it,… about birds, fishes,… and all form of wild life in and around it. A search that never ends, … as long as Persian Gulf exist.
Here, on this page, we will see more and more on this issue, and we will become familiar with organizations, people, laws and regulations, conventions and treaties, news, documents, projects, employments … and whatever can have any influence on the destiny of Persian Gulf Life. Iraqi Marshlands are one of them.

Iraqi Marshlands and Ramsar

What has Ramsar to do with Iraqi Wetlands: one on Caspian sea, and the other at the tail of Persian Gulf?

Well, in fact it does. In 1971, because of high number of wetlands in Iran, an International Convention on Wetlands was held in this country…. And now, the Iraqi Marshlands in neighboring country, are being helped by people who started caring about wetlands over three decades ago in Ramsar.

A convention of some 35 years ago in Iran, on Caspian Sea, in the city of Ramsar, was held on Wetlands worldwide. This connection of wetland history to Iran, and the today’s Iraqi Marshland Crisis, might be the best occasion to know more about Iraqi Marshland, its relation to Persian Gulf Pollution and wetlands in general.

Iraqi marshlands are located in the heart of waters flowing to Persian Gulf. The waters of vast basin of Mesopotamia (see the map), is carried by rivers of Tigris and Euphrates to Persian Gulf. Therefore, whatever pollution in this vast basin, mainly in Iraq, will add to the Persian Gulf pollution. But before reaching persian Gulf, it will affect the life of marshlands, its people and natural resources. The pollution carried by Tigris and Euphrates can involve also Turkey and Syria which don't have any direct connection or access to Persian Gulf.

Will Continue.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Radioactive Dust Over Persian Gulf Region

Experts believe that anyone who has been in the Middle East and Afghanistan will be contaminated for life and many will have serious medical problems.

Object to
Depleted Uranium Weapons

Depleted uranium weapons are pyroforic metal - bullets and shells ignite when fired and 70 percent becomes a metal vapor, a radioactive gas which contaminates the atmosphere and terrain. Radioactive particles are blown about and ingested by all who come in contact with them.

Solar winds transport the radioactive dust around the world, falling to earth in rain, snow, fog and pollution. It takes just four days for DU radioactive pollution to travel from Iraq to the U.S.

Iraqis has been exposed to heavy doses of DU radiation; many have died, the rest will have an unimaginable future in their contaminated country. Iraqi children are being born with terrible birth defects - missing or deformed limbs, organs, partial faces, no eyes, horrible blood diseases and mental retardation. Life magazine has an online photo essay of these children.

American soldiers are returning with equally tragic contamination - there is a rise in severe birth defects in children born to those exposed to DU weapons. The VA reported 518,739 vets on disability from the Persian Gulf wars. Recent reports show a large number of troops returning from Iraq who require extensive medical treatment, resulting in a $2 billion VA shortfall.

Experts believe that anyone who has been in the Middle East and Afghanistan will be contaminated for life and many will have serious medical problems. The World Health Organization expects global cancer rates to increase 50 percent by 2020.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Persian Gulf
Anniversary of Portuguese withdrawal from Persian Gulf
was labeled as the
"national day of Persian Gulf” on Iranian calendar.
Tehran, 16 July, 2005 (CHN)
Anniversary of Portuguese withdrawal from Persian Gulf was labeled as “the national day of Persian Gulf” by the supreme council of Cultural Revolution of Iran.
In Tuesday night session of the council which was presided by Mohammad Khatami, it was decided to call the anniversary of Portuguese withdrawal from Persian Gulf, which is September 29th, the national day of “Persian Gulf” to counter the attempts of some international institutes and Arabian countries to alter the name of “Persian Gulf”.
Portuguese navy invaded Iran through Persian Gulf in early 16th century and occupied the southern part of the country. During their colonial period in south of Iran, they left several monuments in the region which bear the characteristics of Portuguese architecture. The remains of Portuguese castle which is contemporary to Safavid dynasty and is an example of such architecture is still standing in Qeshm Island, south of Iran.
Same news in Persian:
سالروز اخراج پرتغالي ها از تنگه هرمز روز ملي خليج فارس
جزيره هرمز - قلعه پرتغالي ها

خبرگزاري دانشجويان ايران - تهران سرويس: سياسي
بنا به تصويب شوراي عالي انقلاب فرهنگي،
روز ملي خليج فارس
به تقويم ايران اضافه شد

در جلسه شب گذشته اين شورا كه به رياست حجت‌الاسلام‌والمسلمين سيدمحمدخاتمي تشكيل شد؛ شوراي عالي انقلاب فرهنگي با توجه به هدف قرار دادن هويت فرهنگي و تاريخي ملت ايران از سوي ايادي استكبار جهاني بخصوص برخي از كشورهاي همسايه و تلاش آنان جهت تحريم نام تاريخي خليج فارس، به پيشنهاد شوراي فرهنگ عمومي روز اخراج پرتغالي‌ها از تنگه هرمز را به عنوان روز ملي خليج فارس نامگذاري كرد

Monday, July 11, 2005

Nationalization of Oil in Iran
the "Creation of Arabian Gulf"
Siamak D. Ahi, May 26, 2005
The Invention of Arabian Gulf
The Idea of changing the name of Persian Gulf for the first time was suggested by Sir Charles Bellgrave the British diplomatic envoy in Bahrain in early 1930s. This suggestion was rejected by the ministry of colonies and foreign affair.
British Petroleum and Arabian Gulf
The first serious attempt to change the name of Persian Gulf was a British Petroleum policy. The motivation behind this effort was the revenge from Iranian people and government, because of the successful movement of nationalization of oil industry.
The first documented use of the fabricated term Arabian Gulf was in a book called The Golden Bubble of Arabian Gulf in 1952. The writer Roderick Owen was an agent of colonial apparatus in Emirate. He had close relation with the British secret service M16. He was also a policy maker behind British oil industry.
n short, the fabrication of the term Arabian Gulf and nationalization of oil industry in Iran happened at the same time.
Naser and Arab Nationalism
When Naser came to power in Egypt, the anti-Iranian propaganda and conspiracies increased significantly. This era was the beginning of the most dangerous and long-lived orchestrated effort to change the historical-legal name of Persian Gulf.
Naser put lots of pressure on the semi-independent countries of Persian Gulf. He used the financial resources of sheikdoms to promote the fabricated term of Arabian Gulf internationally. The efforts of Naserist regime and other nationalist Arabs particularly the Baathists in Syria and Iraq was very fruitful in cultural circles.
During 1960s and 70s numerous institutions were created to implement the propaganda plans of Arab nationalists. One of the main program of these institutions, which often operated in universities and research centers, was holding conferences and events.
They invited the scientists from all over the world and focused on some Persian Gulf issues. Under pressure of these events, the scientists used the term Arabian Gulf in their work and publications. The new so-called research institutes financed western scientists and researchers.
BBC and Arabian Gulf
In 1970s the use of Arabian Gulf was so spread around the world that not only many universities and research centers, but also private companies in business (particularly companies in publishing political-geographical business) and even governmental institutions were using the new fabricated name.
The most important achievement of these conspiracies was their influence on BBC. BBC was the most influential news agency in the world at the time. Foreign pressure and also the "Arabist" tendencies of senior officials of BBC led to their resistance in using the Persian Gulf. They welcomed the use of term "Gulf" instead.
This decision making of BBC in early 1970s had a very strong influence on the British publishing society. In mid-1970s most of British publications were using the term "Gulf" and erased the "Identity of Persian Gulf."
Persian Gulf Task Force
All these orchestrated activities of racist Arabs, which was often supported by their governments, remained unanswered. Unfortunately, there was no movement from Iranian government to oppose the conspiracies and saving the Persian Gulf historical identity. Even the independent and private Iranian research centers and businesses were silent and inactive.
The only hope for action was coming from the responsible Iranian individuals, who expressed their protests to institutes and companies, mostly in form of letters and meetings.
In 1998, with the creation of Persian Gulf Task Force, for the first time the defenders of Persian Gulf historical-legal identity, could act organized and coordinated.
Documents of United Nation on Persian Gulf
The United Nations with it s 22 Arab members countries has on two occasions officially declared the unalterable name of the sea between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula as the Persian Gulf. The first announcement was made through the document UNAD, 311/Geneva on March 5, 1971 and the second was UNLA 45.8.2(C) on August 10, 1984. Moreover, the annual U.N. conference for coordination on the geographical names has emphatically repeated the name "Persian Gulf" each year.
On History of Persian Gulf

The Latin term "Sinus Persicus" is equivalent to "Presicher Golf" in German, "Persico qof" in Italian and "Persidskizalir" in Russian, all of which means "Pars."
Prior to the stationing of the Aryan Iranians on Iran's Plateau, the Assyrians named the sea in their oldest transcriptions as the "bitter sea" and this is the oldest name that was used for the Persian Gulf.
An inscription of Darius found in the Suez Canal used a phrase with a mention of river Pars, which points to the same Persian Gulf.
Arabian Gulf in History
The Greek historian Herodotus in his book has repeatedly referred to the Red Sea as the "Arab Gulf."
Straben, the Greek historian of the second half of the first century BC and the first half of the first century AD Wrote: Arabs are living between the Arabian Gulf and the Persian Gulf.
Ptolemy, another renowned Greek geographer of the 2nd century has referred to the Red Sea as the "Arabicus Sinus." i.e. the Arabian Gulf.
Recognition of Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf, has been recognized as the real and rightful nomenclature not only by all ancient and past writers and historical nations but also by all modern international organizations and Int. societies among them the followings:
1- United Nation.
2- UNCSGN-United Nation Conference on Standardization of Geographical Names.
3- UN Cartographic Unit Staff.
4- IHO-International Hydrographic Organization.
5- IMO- International Maritime Organization.
6- IAPO-International Associations of Physical Oceanography.
7- IHB- International Hydrographic Bureau.
8- United nation Documents on geographical names.
9- UNICODE-Encoding Standards Consortium.
10- ISO-International Standardization Organization.
11- IHA- International Hydrographic Association.
12- UNGEGN-United Nations Group on Geographic Names.
13- UNGIWG- United Nation's Geographic Information Working group.
14- UNGIS- UN Geographical Information.
15- IAPO- International Association of Physical Oceanography
16- UNEP- United Nation Environmental Program.
19- WB- World Bank.
20- ICA- International Cartography Association.
Main Sources:
1. Persian Gulf and the conspiracy for changing its name,
Keyhan- London (in Pesian), Mahan Abedin
2. Conspiracy to change a heritage name "The Persian
Gulf", M.Ajam
3. A brief history of the name Persian Gulf, Atefeh Maziar.
4. persian gulf, from ancient time, has been Persian
Gulf, Dr. Mojtahed-zadeh
The articles could be found also here:
Top: Tehran, Baharestan square,1952
Right: Dr. Mossadegh

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Broken Oil Pipes In Persian Guf

Saudi Arabia: Environmental Issues


Environmental protection issues in Saudi Arabia are strongly linked -- but not limited -- to the production, processing and transportation of oil and natural gas. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has been increasing its efforts aimed at protecting the country from various environmental hazards, while attempting to balance these concerns with the country's heavy dependence on hydrocarbon production and export. On the whole, Saudi Arabia is striving to minimize the impacts of the country's hydrocarbons sector on its environment (including the waters surrounding Saudi Arabia). Saudi Arabia also is attempting to safeguard the health of its rapidly growing population..

Saudi Arabia is keen to protect the environmental safety of the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and the Saudi petroleum industry--led by Saudi Aramco, the state oil company--has contributed to environmental protection through safety measures, early warning systems against possible leakage, and advanced methods to control and contain any pollution. Saudi Aramco's Environmental Conservation Policy directs that the company not create undue risks to the environment, and that operations be carried out with concern for protection of the land, air, and water. Aramco has developed an array of operational requirements, engineering standards, and performance guidelines to implement this policy, including sanitary codes, environmental assessments, bioremediation, air quality and emission standards, noise-control regulations, landfill standards, water recycling procedures, hazardous material disposal rules, and oil spill contingency plans.

As world oil demand increases, however, Saudi Arabia is increasing its production and export capacity, leading to an increasing volume of oil being shipped through pipelines and via tankers. As shipping traffic becomes more congested, the odds of spills and accidents increases, putting the environment at greater risk.

Environmental Impact of Oil Exploration and Production

Although technological innovations have reduced the impact that oil exploration and extraction have on the environment, risks still remain. Offshore drilling can affect the integrity of the coastal shelf, as well as have a negative effect on marine life. Transporting oil to world markets -- via barge, supertanker, or pipeline - -runs the risk of spillage. Although improved ship design and better cleanup techniques have reduced the impact of oil spills, oil discharges in the Persian Gulf -- both accidental and otherwise -- have been on the increase, posing a threat to Gulf ecology and environment.

Offshore Development and Marine Life

A relative lack of precipitation, human population, inflow from rivers, and other natural disturbances has helped keep Red Sea reefs generally healthy. However, reefs located along the Saudi coast are threatened by pollution from offshore hydrocarbon development, as well as from the de-ballasting of oil tankers and other ships moving through the heavily trafficked Red Sea and Persian Gulf regions.On the Persian Gulf side, Saudi Arabia has infilled more than 40% of its coastline, wiping out half of its mangroves, while dredging and sedimentation are causing major ecological problems in coastal habitats. Fewer coral species thrive in the Persian Gulf than in the Red Sea, with many living near their maximum tolerances due to high salinity and wide temperature swings.

Environmentalists have warned that a significant percentage of the oil produced by offshore oil rigs has been spilling into the sea (which is already prone to contamination due to a relatively shallow average depth of of 97 feet) because of seepages in the sea bed, cracks in rigs, illegal discharges by oil companies and vessels and accidental spills. In addition, salt-laden wastewater from the oil production process that is dumped into the Gulf is increasing the salinity of the water and posing a grave threat to marine life. The Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment, a leading Arab environmental organization, warns that a September 1999 die-off of fish in the northern Gulf, due to high salt level in the water and 100-degree water temperatures, is the result of global warming compounded by indiscriminate dumping of wastewater in the region by oil companies and unchecked oil seepage. Although the latest industrial techniques go a long way to ensure that waste is handled in an environmentally-responsible fashion, many oil companies in the region have yet to implement these technologies.However, Saudi Arabia is beginning to take steps towards protecting its marine habitats while exploring for offshore oil. In 1997, Aramco began a study with the Research Institute at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran to determine whether shallow marine habitats along the Red Sea coastline can be mapped reliably using satellite remote-sensing data and sophisticated image-processing techniques, thereby minimizing costly and damaging fieldwork. Such mapping is part of the company's ongoing effort to minimize the impact of shoreline and offshore activities on the marine environment.Aramco is undertaking a number of studies to determine how better to minimize its impact on the marine environment. Major marine studies include the 18-year-old Bioaccumulation Monitoring Program, which monitors the entry of hydrocarbons and heavy-metal toxins into the food chain of Gulf Coast clams. The Bioassay Toxicity Testing Program, the first of its kind in the region, tests the effect of drilling muds on laboratory-raised kin of the Gulf shrimp. The study has helped in the development of nontoxic drilling muds. Aramco also has worked with the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development to plant mangrove trees along the Persian Gulf coastline of the Ras Tanura Peninsula, providing a nursery for fish and shrimp, and expanding the biological habitat in Tarut Bay.

Spills and Response Preparedness

Oil spills are a major threat to both the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Heavy oil tanker traffic through several chokepoints, including Bab el-Mandab, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline, are a constant threat. In addition, the extensive shallow coastal waters limit on-water recovery methods, making preventive strategies all the more important to protect coastal resources. In November 2000, a Saudi environmental report estimated that one million barrels of oil and waste products were dumpted or spilled into the Persian Gulf every year by shipping. Pollution also stems from oil and natural gas extraction activities. Gulf countries have established 21 centers along the coast in order to collect waste coming from shipping, and are looking to tighten restrictions on oil tankers entering the Gulf.

Nevertheless, the Persian Gulf has experienced a number of moderate-to-large oil spills over the past 20 years. During the Iran-Iraq war from 1980 to 1988, oil tankers in the Gulf were attacked, resulting in thousands of barrels of oil spillage. However, the damage done to the environment by that war was dwarfed by the catastrophic effects of oil spilled during the Persian Gulf War: on January 23, 1991, Iraq began intentionally pumping crude oil into the Gulf from the Sea Island supertanker terminal 10 miles off the Kuwaiti coast. The spill, described by then-Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams described the act as "the worst environmental disaster in the history of the Persian Gulf," is also the worst recorded oil spill in world history, with approximately 5.7 million barrels of oil dumped.

While a major international response effort recovered more than one million barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia's shoreline, the spill caused severe environmental damage, highlighting the need to respond quickly to future spills. MEPA is in charge of dealing with oil spills in Saudi waters--its reporting and response capabilities are outlined in the National Contingency Plan for Combating Marine Pollution by Oil and Other Harmful Substances in Emergencies. According to the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), this plan established Environmental Protection Coordinating Committees--one for the Red Sea coast and one for the Gulf Coast. Among their responsibilities are the preparation of area plans (including local plans for marine and coastal oil facilities), identification of necessary manpower and equipment, and training staff in response activities.

In addition, the Gulf Area Oil Companies Mutual Aid Organization (GAOCMAO), was established to protect the marine environment in the Persian Gulf from oil pollution emanating from operations of GAOCMAO member oil companies in the region. The organization was founded on the idea that each company shares the responsibility to ensure a long-term commitment to the "Clean Gulf" concept by preventing operational oil spills, stopping tanker discharges, safety of ships leading to cleaner seas, and total stoppage of industrial waste discharge to sea.

Saudi Aramco, which is a charter member of GAOCMAO, is also a member of several key regional and international agencies involved in oil spill response. Aramco is a member of the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, whose main purpose is to inform members of environmental developments and facilitate communications between the oil industry and relevant organizations on environmental issues. The company also participates in the Oil Industry International Exploration & Production Forum, the Oil Companies International Marine Forum, and ITOPF.

In addition to its readiness training, Aramco maintains regional command and control centers for oil spill response, and houses emergency equipment, including dedicated aircraft, to battle spills at sea. Aramco engages in air and sea surveillance of all its offshore operating areas, and has a full-time oil spill cleanup group dedicated to the task of pollution control in and around the company's exporting terminals.

In February 2002, Saudi Arabia and Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on environmental cooperation between the two countries. The MoU covers various envrionmental issues, including "protecting various species of animals and wildlife as well as other fields related to the environment."


Persian Gulf Pollution from Space

Oceanography from the Space Shuttle
Sep 25, 1996 - from NASA Internet Sites
Oil Spill

Widespread manmade pollution of the sea that can be detected by current spaceborne systems is concentrated in the Middle East, particularly in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Obviously, there is some pollution wherever ships discharge material into the sea that is foreign to the marine environment. These events are short-lived, however, and cannot be located and tracked from space observations (whatever the electromagnetic frequency).

The amount of petroleum products ending up in the ocean is estimated at 0.25% of world oil production: about 6 million tons per year. Seagoing tankers carry 60% of all oil extracted. The oceanic pollution is caused when these ships flush their tanks with seawater. A smaller percentage comes from passenger ships and freighters draining water ballast from their fuel tanks (Monin and Krasitskiy, 1985).

The greatest volume of petroleum products dumped into the ocean is carried there by rivers. It represents more than triple the quantity coming from all tankers and other ships. Oil and other petroleum products are discharged into rivers and the ocean by many industrial enterprises, including oil refineries and oil storage installations, The quantity of petroleum products dumped each year into the sewage network by gasoline stations twice exceeds the amount resulting from ship disasters.

Locally, especially in coastal regions, a sudden spill of oil into the sea can have catastrophic consequences that are usually short-lived. In the case of the Kharg Island spill in the Persian Gulf, the flow into the sea has been nearly continuous since 1982. As a result, an entire fishing industry has been destroyed, complete populations of some fish species are now extinct in that habitat, and desalination. plants have become inoperative. It is unlikely that the Persian Gulf waters will return to normal in this century.

Environmental Consequences Of The Gulf War
Excerpts from the U.S. Congressional Record, April 16, 1991

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to call attention to an issue and a situation that has the concern of many of the families in my district who have children, husbands, brothers, and sisters in the Persian Gulf. Mr. Speaker, while agencies and task forces take samples and analyze data to determine the health risks of Saddam Hussein's ecoterrorism, there can be no doubt that U.S. troops stationed in the gulf are being exposed to an unusually high amount of air pollution. The calls I have received from the families of troops in the Persian Gulf from my district are concerned that the troops are not home yet. Some of them have conveyed to their parents that they will not be home until September, after a long, hot summer in the Persian Gulf, and they are very concerned about the atmosphere of the air that they breathe while they are in Kuwait.

Mr. Speaker, thick clouds of black smoke from the well fires have been spewing into Kuwaiti skies for over a month, obscuring the sun with air pollutants estimated at 10 times the amount produced by all the industrial and electric generating plants in the United States combined. Air pollution from oil well fires is so bad that soldiers stationed in the gulf need flashlights to see in the daytime, and the flags that fly over the newly liberated Kuwait are streaked with soot.

The Environmental Protection Agency has detected some air pollutants attributed to the gulf fires halfway around the world at its Mauna Loa station in the Hawaiian Islands.


The Persian Gulf: After the Storm

Skirting abandoned bunkers and mindful of hidden Iraqi mines, we have driven deep into the inferno of Kuwait Ahmadi oil field. Fires of dynamited wellheads, roaring like jet engines, rage on every side.

We stop for photographer Steve McCurry to shoot pictures, and I take a count. Sixty-eight fountains of fire hurl smoke into the black canopy overhead. Throughout this shattered land more than 500 flaming wells spew poisons aloft, each systematically ignited by Iraqi invaders three weeks before.

In this dark and surrealistic landscape a drizzle of soot and oil flashes in our headlights and stains our protective gauze masks. The smoke cloud blocks the midmorning sun, and the fouled desert air is chill.

Some of the fires leap 200 feet (61 meters) in the air. Twisting and writhing in the wind, they resemble flaming tornadoes tethered to their wellheads. The hottest we give wide berth, lest the searing heat touch off our gas tank.