Tehran Sewage Kills Two Million Fish

Tehran Sewage Kills Two Million Fish

Some "two million fish" were found dead and floating in a water reserve outside Tehran, possibly poisoned by untreated sewage that had been seeping in for months, the semi-official ISNA agency reported Wednesday.

Mohsen Showkati, head of the environmental office of the district of Reyy where the Fashafuyeh dam was located, blamed waste waters from the nearby Vavan estate, which lacks sewage systems. Its treatment facilities were only "60% complete," because of budget shortfalls, he said.

Showkati said the dam was used for aquaculture, irrigation and provided water for livestock, but was also connected to traditional wells. Its waters, he added, were now entirely polluted and "useless."

Showkati revealed that the Vavan estate "previously mixed its sewage with a water canal," which diluted the dirty waters flowing indirectly into Fashafuyeh. "Recently with the interruption of this water canal, raw sewage has entered directly ... causing an environmental calamity in the area."

Authorities say they had cleared "30 tons" of dead fish from the lake, with legal action expected against local administrators.

Sewage treatment s still largely undeveloped in Iran, with the capital only beginning to install systems in the late 1980s or later. It is unclear where progress stands even as the city continues to grow beyond eight million residents.

Beside sewage, Iran has a rudimentary waste disposal system, consisting basically of dumping trash underground. A deputy-head of the state Environmental Protection Organization, Sa'id Motessadi was cited as saying on April 22 just the country's coastal provinces — on the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf — produced 14,000 tons of trash every day, of which only 10% was separated at source. The vast majority was buried he said, with a consequent shortage of dumping grounds in coastal areas, the daily Shahrvand reported.

— Ahmad Shayegan

(photo of Tehran by Ninara)

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In Argentina, A Visit To World's Highest Solar Energy Park

With loans and solar panels from China, the massive solar park has been opened a year and is already powering the surrounding areas. Now the Chinese supplier is pushing for an expansion.

960,000 solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari park

Silvia Naishtat

CAUCHARI — Driving across the border with Chile into the northwest Argentine department of Susques, you may spot what looks like a black mass in the distance. Arriving at a 4,000-meter altitude in the municipality of Cauchari, what comes into view instead is an assembly of 960,000 solar panels. It is the world's highest photovoltaic (PV) park, which is also the second biggest solar energy facility in Latin America, after Mexico's Aguascalientes plant.

Spread over 800 hectares in an arid landscape, the Cauchari park has been operating for a year, and has so far turned sunshine into 315 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the local provincial capital of Jujuy through the national grid.

It has also generated some $50 million for the province, which Governor Gerardo Morales has allocated to building 239 schools.

Abundant sunshine, low temperatures

The physicist Martín Albornoz says Cauchari, which means "link to the sun," is exposed to the best solar radiation anywhere. The area has 260 days of sunshine, with no smog and relatively low temperatures, which helps keep the panels in optimal conditions.

Its construction began with a loan of more than $331 million from China's Eximbank, which allowed the purchase of panels made in Shanghai. They arrived in Buenos Aires in 2,500 containers and were later trucked a considerable distance to the site in Cauchari . This was a titanic project that required 1,200 builders and 10-ton cranes, but will save some 780,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

It is now run by 60 technicians. Its panels, with a 25-year guarantee, follow the sun's path and are cleaned twice a year. The plant is expected to have a service life of 40 years. Its choice of location was based on power lines traced in the 1990s to export power to Chile, now fed by the park.

Chinese engineers working in an office at the Cauchari park


Chinese want to expand

The plant belongs to the public-sector firm Jemse (Jujuy Energía y Minería), created in 2011 by the province's then governor Eduardo Fellner. Jemse's president, Felipe Albornoz, says that once Chinese credits are repaid in 20 years, Cauchari will earn the province $600 million.

The Argentine Energy ministry must now decide on the park's proposed expansion. The Chinese would pay in $200 million, which will help install 400,000 additional panels and generate enough power for the entire province of Jujuy.

The park's CEO, Guillermo Hoerth, observes that state policies are key to turning Jujuy into a green province. "We must change the production model. The world is rapidly cutting fossil fuel emissions. This is a great opportunity," Hoerth says.

The province's energy chief, Mario Pizarro, says in turn that Susques and three other provincial districts are already self-sufficient with clean energy, and three other districts would soon follow.

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