1. Home
  2. Agriculture World

Iraq Launches Mangrove Forest Plantation Project to Fight Climate Disaster

Over the past decade, Iraq's carbon emissions have more than doubled, ranking the country among the worst polluters in the region relative to its economy, according to the World Bank.

Shivam Dwivedi
Iraq Launches Mangrove Forest Plantation Project to Fight Climate Disaster (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Iraq Launches Mangrove Forest Plantation Project to Fight Climate Disaster (Photo Source: Pixabay)

Aymen al-Rubaye, an agricultural engineer, is spearheading a project in southern Iraq aimed at restoring mangrove forests in the region. Working alongside Iraqi government bodies and a United Nations agency, Rubaye's team is determined to plant up to 4 million mangrove trees in the Khor al-Zubair mudflats area, situated near major oil fields.

As Rubaye carefully plants mangrove seedlings in the sprawling tidal flats, a troubling sight looms on the horizon. Thick black smoke rises from the nearby petrochemical plant, serving as a stark reminder of the ecological damage that he and his team are striving to reverse.

Rubaye understands the urgency of his mission. The mangrove forest they aim to create will not only protect the coastline but also provide shelter to vulnerable species while combating climate change. He emphasizes the plant's remarkable capacity to capture and store carbon dioxide, offering a valuable weapon in the battle against global warming.

The Khor al-Zubair mudflats, located south of Basra, present a challenging landscape of water, salt, mud, and a hazy sky. Rubaye and his team maneuver through the intricate network of channels by boat, determined to restore the natural balance of this fragile ecosystem.

The smoke billowing in the distance originates from the petrochemical plant near the Zubair oil field, located approximately 20 kilometers (13 miles) away. The energy sector, which serves as Iraq's primary industry and source of income, is also the major contributor to pollution in the Basra area.

Southern Iraq was once renowned for its abundant marshes, but they were drained decades ago in a devastating environmental catastrophe. This led to the destruction of a complex ecosystem and pushed many inhabitants to the brink of ruin. By planting mangroves in the tidal flats, south of where the marshes once thrived, Rubaye and his team can safeguard coastal communities from storms and floods, all while preserving Iraq's scarce freshwater resources.

Inspiration for this initiative came from successful mangrove forest rehabilitation projects in nearby Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Mangrove plants have proven their resilience in the face of harsh conditions, making them an ideal choice for this restoration effort. They thrive in hot, muddy, and salty environments that would be inhospitable to most other plant species.

Ahmed Albaaj, representing the U.N.'s World Food Programme, along with Basra's local government, university, and Iraq's environment ministry, stated that the newly planted trees originated from a nursery that nurtured 12,000 seedlings.

Take this quiz on World Meteorological Day to check your knowledge about meteorology! Take a quiz
Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters