The corrupt and disarrayed regime in Tehran has pushed Iran to many interrelated political, social, and natural crises, including environmental degradation, unemployment and poverty, among other things. In Iran, due to the mismanagement of natural resources, sustainability is being hugely undermined in every aspect of environmental issues at the cost of future generations. The Iranian regime is facing unprecedented difficulties in maintaining its current infrastructure, housing, food, and educational facilities. The regime additionally is faced with everyday uprisings and protest actions of various sectors of the society demanding justice.
Iran, with abundant oil reserves, natural gas, copper, lead, and other raw material, may be dependent on the imports of many everyday essential needs, including food and gas. On the environmental front, Iran has signed many international environmental agreements and has enacted detailed environmental policies and regulations, but actual management and enforcement are almost non-existence and hard to find.
The air quality in metropolitan Tehran and some other major cities across Iran has gradually become unbreathable for past decades, and in recent years, the pollution index has reached dangerously high levels for elders and others with respiratory illnesses. In 2018, The World Health Organization (WHO) had categorized Tehran as the “most polluted city in the world,” while the World Bank, in its 2018 report, said the city accounts for 4,000 of the 12,000 deaths due to air pollution in Iran annually. These fatalities are due to cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and strokes. However, the data is disputed, and some have given 30,000 deaths or even more.
The role of children and the environment is so crucial that the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) published a special report in 1990 entitled “Children and the Environment.” The report began with this statement: The destruction of the environment destroys children. The report discusses the relationship between environmental problems and children’s health; problems such as deforestation, desertification, increasing exploitation of agricultural land in developing countries, polluted water, and the presence of sewage. According to the United Nations Environment Program, these are problems that pose a direct threat to children’s health. Looking at the state of the environment in Iran, including air pollution, water shortage, lack of rural green spaces, insufficient and outdated infrastructure, and above all, unaccountability and ignorance of Iran’s officials.
Iran’s children are also directly affected by the mismanagement of Iran’s water, forests, wetlands, and lakes by the regime of the mullahs and constantly face the effects of the Iranian regime’s anti-environmental policies and inactions in their very young lives. They have, in fact, been robbed of a peaceful and worry-free childhood. There are many areas of Iran where due to drought, locals draw rainwater from natural holes in the ground for their daily consumption, which carries risks of contaminations and diseases.
In some of Iran’s water-scarce provinces, the lack or rationing of water has led to children leaving school to provide water for their families. They often have to carry heavy containers of water to their homes with their small bodies and use all their might to deliver the water to their families safely.
Unfortunately, there is no specific law in the Iranian constitution and judiciary that specifically defines the rights of Iran’s children regarding the status of environmental threats and dangers and the protection of the environment. One may argue that even if there were rules and regulations to protect Iran’s children, there is absolutely no guarantee of its proper implications.
In a country where state-affiliated companies, factories, and manufacturing plants are allowed to threaten the environment and undermine public health by polluting water, carrying out unsanitary disposal of waste, dumping poisonous substances into rivers, destroying water treatment plants and agricultural farms, and carrying out deforestation among other things, one should expect to see the environmental issues of Iran in such a disastrous state.
Iran’s children, the future of Iran, are in such a perilous state. One thing is crystal clear; the Iranian regime is the sole cause of this misery. The children of Iran, like the children of other countries around the world, are entitled to enjoy their childhood without worrying about their drinking water or the cleanness of the air they breathe.