Due to actions of border police and oil interests

Environmental group sounds alarm about threats to southern marshes

NEWSROOM –  The Tigris River Protectors Association, an environmental justice group, has denounced encroachments by Iraqi border police and oil interests on the marshes in southern Iraq’s Maysan province, labeling it a “tragic culmination of years of disregard for the delicate ecosystem.”

The association described the situation as a dire consequence of long-term neglect of the delicate ecosystem. These actions, particularly in the Al-Hawizeh area, have resulted in a severance of connections between Marsh residents and their homeland, employing methods such as barbed wire and bridge construction.

Local residents are reportedly barred entry into parts of the marshes, leading to what the association deems as “a direct assault on the rights and livelihoods of the indigenous communities.”

Expressing deep concern, the association also highlighted the development of the Al-Hawizeh oil field, which poses a significant threat to the already beleaguered marshes, potentially eradicating the last remnants of the ancient ecosystem.

The association has issued a call to action, urging all “concerned citizens, environmental advocates, and defenders of justice” to stand in solidarity with the locals against the crisis unfolding in Al-Hawizeh.

The Al-Hawizeh marshes, situated in the border areas between Iraq and Iran, are sustained by the Tigris River on the Iraqi side and al-Karkheh on the Iranian side.

This complex of marshes is one of the three marsh complexes in southern Iraq and is regarded as ecologically healthier than others in the country, having avoided complete desiccation during Saddam Hussein’s drainage campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s.