An oil facility in the Kurdistan Region burns off natural gas. Photo: Rudaw TV
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Garmiyan, a region of the Kurdistan Region, has seen its environment and Sirwan River polluted due to the oil operations.
Oil has been pumped from Hasirah oil field in Garmiyan for four years. Garmiyan University held a workshop for researchers who discussed the topic of environmental pollution in cooperation with the Kirkuk Intellectualism and Social Society.
"The effects of its smoke and impact were discussed. Even in economic terms, the people of Garmiyan haven't benefited from it that much in terms of development of some projects aimed at preserving the environment, like a number of large parks, or natural reserves," said Saman Azziz, an expert in Factors of Environmental Pollution, on Thursday.
The workshop was titled ‘The Dangers of Environmental Pollution and its Negative Impacts.’ The conclusions and results of the workshop will be given to the authorities.
"We have put serious pressure on Gazprom and a big international company. Its job isn't just helping a sport team and undertaking very small projects. It has to shoulder its responsibility," said Bestun Zhalayi, member of Garmiyan Environmentalists Group.
He said that they will "prove" the pollution through scientific studies and demonstrate the need for Gazprom to replenish Garmiyan's environment.
KRG deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani has given the Garmiyan Administration the discretion to closely monitor oil companies in the area.
"The Garmiyan Directorate of Environment is working on installing a device to measure the environmental damage incurred by the area. If there is evidence that the way the company works poses a danger to the environment, then it has to be resolved," said Haval Ibrahim, spokesperson for Garmiyan Administration.
Besides air pollution, the strategic Sirwan River is also endangered with an official saying the water is no longer drinkable.
"The elements that get mixed into Sirwan's water cannot be purified, and they will be transferred to humans and that can't be cured," said Abdulmutalib Rafaat, expert of Water Management. "Based on the results of the experiments on Sirwan's water, that water is in no way suitable for drinking," added Rafaat.
Authorities in the Kurdistan Region as they move out of the ISIS conflict are starting to address other environmental issues like deforestation, wildfires, and poaching.