Iran: Cancer-Causing Pollution in Kazzaz; A Village That “All Doctors Know About
By Mahmoud Hakamian
Kazzaz is situated in Shazand county (around 20 kilometres away from Arak, in Markazi Province), containing around 1900 residents. The heavy “air pollution” in this area, has led to high rates of cancer, infertility, defective embryos, disabled children, skin diseases, and even death.
The state-run newspaper, Iran, recently released a report (September 17th, 2018), titled “all doctors know about Kazzaz” which discusses pollutions emerging from “oil and petrochemical refinements, as well as thermal powerplants”.
One of the residents of this village says: “for the past 2-3 years, doctors of this area have been telling their patients that their illnesses are caused by the pollutions of industrial refineries of this village”.
The governor of Shazand, Mostafa Arab, has specifically clarified that these industrial pollutants have had “many detrimental effects on water, soil, and the public health in general”.
Placard reads: all together we say in one voice: Fresh Air is our Inalienable Right
A member of Shazand’s council, named Mehdi Bakhshi, deems the “wrong placement” of heavy industries like those of oil and petrochemical refineries or thermal power plants, a complete “injustice” to the residents of this village.
According to Bakhshi, “due to the close proximity” of this village “to industrial refineries”, things like cancer, skin conditions, miscarriage, and infertility, have sadly become very common in this area. Adding that: “I wish our state officials spent just 24 hours of their time in Kazzaz, to personally experience the negative impacts of industrial pollutants here. But unfortunately, those officials are only thinking of themselves, and disregard the wellbeing of others in this village”.
The residents of this area have also reported of the “death of several men and women” from cancer, over the last 40 days; as well as the birth of “35 defective children”, “water pollution”, and “sticky livestock”.
One of the residents, named Abdollah Jafari, comments: “Here in our village, 80% of the population have cancer; look at my own hands...these blisters are clearly from pollution… even my 4-year-old son has a skin condition, with leather-like patches all over him…but no one cares to hear us out”; adding that “everyone knows about the pollution here, but no one does anything to improve the situation...so don’t even bother…”.
Placards read: Blue Sky and Fresh Air are our Inalienable Rights
To sum things up, most residents are mainly frustrated with “air pollution”, “bad odour”, and associated risks of “skin and lung infections”; they have even protested at mosques several times, but their cry for help is yet to be heard.
The Iran newspaper also emphasises the negative impacts on women in specific, who end up either infertile, or giving birth to defective babies.
As an example, a woman who reportedly had a miscarriage just recently, tells Iran newspaper: “doctors said that my embryo’s heart was not fully developed; when I asked for the reason, they immediately said that air pollution was the cause… many others from my area have apparently had the same problem…which is why Arak’s doctors know Kazzaz very well now”; adding: “Here, people either end up with cancer, infertility, death, or defective babies. Even those with healthy children, are constantly worried because something as simple as breathing has become a challenge in our highly polluted area now…many children have even been getting random nose bleeds”.
A store keeper of this village also comments int his regard: “we sell one big box of Gelofen every day, because a lot of people experience terrible headaches here; everyone is suffering from extreme fatigue and lack of energy, even when they wake up in the mornings”.
Iran’s air pollution is so serious and prevalent that it has been brought up by various state-run news agencies, to shed more light on its negative impacts on the daily lives of thousands of Iranians.