Document Type : Research Paper
Department of Environment, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Guilan, Iran
This paper examines the trend of urban development and its environmental impacts in southern Caspian Sea Region . which constitutes three provinces of Gullan. Mazandaran and Golestan in northern Iran. As a distinct georaphical region, Southern Caspian Region in northern Iran is a rich area in terms of natural resources and is heavily occupied by population and activities. While this region covers only 3.5 % of Iranian territory, it includes 10.3% of population and 12.3%‘ of cities in the country, of which the density is three times more than that of the country in average. With 657 km of coastline and suitable climate for most part of the year. this region is the most important recreation area for tourism activities in Iran especially In the summer time. The focus of this paper is to analyze the trend of urban development and population change in three northern provinces in the last 45 years and the major environmental effects which urban development has had in the region. The results of the analysis indicate that the major environmental impacts of urban development in the Southern Caspian Sea Region include: (1) water pollution because of the lack of appropriate sewage system and direct dlschare of run oft‘ waters from households and industrial units into the
rivers. This issue has led to the pollution of waterbodies especially such as In Anzali Lagoon and destruction of natural breeding areas for fish in several places; (2) Soil pollution through inappropriate deposition of urban waste outside the cities and along roadsides; and (3) clearance of the forest and invasion of the agricultural lands because of urban sprawl. At the end, some recommendations are made to alleviate and control the negative environmental impacts Department of Environment, Gullan University, Iran 1‘ of urban development in order to preserve the fragile environment in the region.
Caspian Sea Region. urban development, environmental impacts, water pollution, sewage system, urban waste, soil pollution.
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