Dealing with Environmental Issues in Syria

Desertification, polluted drinking water, and the drought in Syria have lead to a dire need for change to occur for the Syrian People. The SEPS (Syrian Environmental Protection Society) became the first environmental movement that had been founded and publicly announced in Syria; something that many saw as a step forward but still today the current situation in Syria requires more than just the help of one organization. With the SEPS being a NGO (non-governmental organization), it has little say in the Syrian government itself and can only try to illustrate the problems that not taking any steps would cause.

The drought in Syria combined with the mismanagement of the countries natural resources by President Assad, and bad irrigation techniques lead to serious devastation in the region. When Assad decided to subsidize water-intensive crops such as wheat and cotton, he inadvertently displaced 1.5 million people in Syria who lost everything due to the drought and climate conditions. It’s not only the crops that the drought is affecting, its livestock in the region as well. It’s estimated around 75 percent of farmers experienced total crop failure, and farmers lost up to 80 percent of their livestock. The above picture shows a region that looks barren with not a sight of a body of water; it illustrates what much of the country looks like.

As seen in the above picture, Syria is illustrated in red which just shows how severe drought conditions are in Syria. Dry soil and not enough water has rendered much of the region useless. Syria is a part of the UN Millennium Development Goals, and according to the most recent one published in 2013, the number of people uprooted by conflict and persecution has been at its highest level in 18 years, something that’s finally being taken care of as Syria is appearing to be complying with UN demands.


By: Rohan Kohli


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