When I was a teenager in the 80s, the Iran-Iraq war started and during that time I heard a lot about Hur al-Azim Wetland. Even after the war, movies, such as “Hur on Fire” were made that depicted the wetland. Hur al-Azim, which is the largest border wetland in Iran, plays a major role in the eco-system of the region. It covers more than 120,000 hectares in the Dasht-e Azadegan region of Khuzestan province southwestern of the country and a part of it is in Iraq.
Since the 1980s, the marshes have dried out due to effects of the war, the building of upstream dams and oil exploration. This drying of marshes has created many problems. Firstly, it has led to the poverty of the people and the misplacement of hundreds of Iranian-Arab families living in the area. The main job of the inhabitants of this region is breeding water-buffalos and currently due to the shortage of water the lives of these animals is in serious danger. Usually during the hot seasons, the buffaloes cool down in the water. Whenever there is no water, they go inside the mud instead and many get stuck in the mud and die. And finally, the drying of marshes has resulted in dust storms across the region and beyond.