People all around the world have protested against climate change and symptoms of global warming such as melting glaciers, drought and endangered animals. Governments around the world react to such protests in different ways. Some governments order investigations, others take action to cut emissions, and in Iran, they simply opt to arrest protesters.

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In Iran, one of the largest environmental issues has been the disappearance of Lake Orumiyeh. It is one of the world’s largest salt lakes, but over the last 20 years it has shrunk by 50% due to drought and the government’s damming of rivers. Environmental protesters have been calling for the government to take action and they have – by arresting 60 protesters.

Despite local officials warning the government that the lake’s disappearance could result in the displacement of millions of citizens (and the creation of 10 billion tons of salt), a proposed rescue plan has been rejected by the country’s parliament. Officially, the government has yet to take a position on the future of the lake.

As a result of the government’s inaction, over 200 people took part in a protest near the lake. As the site is classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, it was not the first protest that had taken part. However, officials soon moved in arresting 60 people. Why? Because they had not applied for a permit to protest.

While it may seem petty to many, the protesters have said they will continue their demonstration as to do nothing will permanently harm Iran’s ecosystem.

Environmental experts have warned that the lake could be dried out in the next two to four years if no action is taking and that the salt left behind could lead to “salt storms”, which would not only harm Iran, but also Iraq and Turkey.

Currently protesters are proposing feeding the lake with water from the River Arax, about 70km (45 miles) to the north, but only permission from the government will see this plan go ahead.

+ Lake Orumiyeh

via BBC News