Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Desperate situation in Mesopotamian marshes
I am currently assisting in putting together three panels for the Woprld Congress on Middle Eastern Studies in Barcelona, Spain in July, 2010. The situation in the marshes has worsened badly, with the Shat al Arab running salt water. With low flows and drought, the Shat al Arab has increased salinity levels from 1 ppt to 9-13 ppt and even higher. Sea wter has started to reach far to the north of the Shat al Arab, with big changes in the biodiversity. Marine species are now seen in places where they never occurred before. Shad populations, an important fish species, have declined 75%. Many other invertebrates are also declining, and the salty turbid water with warmer termperatures is adversely affecting fish production and biodiveristy in the Gulf. The people and the water buffaloes have no where to go, its an ecological and human rights disaster!