Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



FROTH AND BUBBLE
Mosul battle leaving legacy of environmental damage
By Maya Gebeily
Qayyarah, Iraq (AFP) Dec 17, 2016


The battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group is leaving a legacy of environmental damage and health risks that will pose dangers to people for years to come.

Iraqis have already paid the initial price from burning oil wells and a sulphur factory that IS set alight south of Mosul, Iraq's last jihadist-held city which is the target of a major military operation launched two months ago.

The fires, combined with water pollution and the potentially toxic remains of destroyed buildings, military equipment and munitions, will also present longer-term threats to people in areas around and inside Mosul.

"We are concerned about how the pollution will affect the health of local populations and negatively impact their capacity to rebuild quality, sustainable livelihoods within those affected areas," said Jenny Sparks of the International Organization for Migration.

A United Nations report on environmental and health risks in the Mosul area said that "hundreds of people were treated for exposure to chemicals, and millions are exposed to soot and gases from the burning oil wells".

"The events are occurring in an already environmentally degraded region, threatened by substantial environmental legacy risk from previous conflicts, coupled with serious desertification and land degradation primarily caused by unsustainable agricultural practices," the report said.

IS set fire to oil wells before the Qayyarah area was recaptured by Iraqi forces in August, and these have burned for months, turning sheep that graze in the area black with soot.

"We can't sell our sheep any more. We have had some sheep die, other times people won't buy them because they look black," said Jaber, a 16-year-old shepherd.

Iraqi civil defence forces have been battling the Qayyarah fires, and while they have extinguished some, others are still burning.

- Destroyed buildings, polluted water -

IS also set fire to the Mishraq sulphur plant south of Mosul, and while the blaze was eventually put out, it had already blanketed nearby areas with a haze of smoke that caused respiratory problems for those who inhaled it.

However, the aftermath of a 2003 fire at the same plant offers some cause for optimism, according to the UN report.

"Even though the vegetation and crops had been badly damaged by the fire, natural recovery was advancing well two years later," it said.

Houses and other buildings damaged or destroyed by air strikes and shelling also pose a risk to civilians trying to return and rebuild their homes.

"Crushed building materials contain harmful substances, pulverised cement, household wastes and chemicals which can cause exposure hazards to civilians and people dealing with the rubble," the UN report said.

The destruction of ammunition and weapons depots can also "leave a toxic footprint", while "destroyed military material such as tanks and armoured vehicles often contains various toxic materials", it said.

Water pollution associated with the conflict is another potential problem, according to Eric Solheim, the head of the United Nations Environment Programme.

"The dumping of bodies, hazardous materials and oil into water sources have all been reported and are major causes of concern," Solheim said.

Inadequate disposal of waste also poses risks, the UN said.

"Collapse of environmental governance can further lead to accumulation of solid household, medical and industrial waste, and if not dealt with properly, can result in increased burning of solid waste and resulting environmental health risks, or the outbreak of communicable diseases," it said.


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up






Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
FROTH AND BUBBLE
Tehran traffic 'unbearable', says police chief
Tehran (AFP) Dec 13, 2016
The transport police chief in Iran's capital added his voice on Tuesday to criticism about the city's interminable traffic jams, the bane of almost every Tehrani's existence. "We have reached a point where the traffic has become unbearable. It can no longer be tolerated," said Mohammad Reza Mehmandar, according to the ISNA news agency. "This situation is because of years of inattention. ... read more


FROTH AND BUBBLE
Sawdust reinvented into super sponge for oil spills

China arrests 18 over fatal October blast

Canada buys new Airbus search and rescue planes for Can$2.4 bn

Urgent appeal for supplies after strong Indonesia quake

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Researchers discovered elusive half-quantum vortices in a superfluid

Uncovering the secrets of water and ice as materials

The hidden side of sulfur

Chemical trickery corrals 'hyperactive' metal-oxide cluster

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Thai fishing fleets shift to distant waters to avoid crackdown: Greenpeace

Rain out, research in

Water: Finding the normal within the weird

A small change with a large impact

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Global warming is melting mountain glaciers: study

Hottest Arctic on record triggers massive ice melt

Scientists measure pulse of CO2 emissions during spring thaw in the Arctic

Landsat provides global view of speed of ice

FROTH AND BUBBLE
US files WTO complaint against China over grain import restrictions

EU court upholds Monsanto GM soybean approval

Corn yield modeling towards sustainable agriculture

Switchgrass may be a good option for farmers who have lost fertile topsoil

FROTH AND BUBBLE
84,000 people displaced by Indonesia earthquake: official

Cyclone kills 10 in south India's tech hub

Study models Tsunami Risk for Florida and Cuba

How soil moisture can help predict power outages caused by hurricance

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Mobile money lifts Kenyan households out of poverty

Mali rivals must stick to peace deal: French minister

Fidel Castro's military forays in Africa

US seeks UN arms embargo against South Sudan

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Neurons paralyze us during REM sleep

Neanderthals visited seaside cave in England for 180,000 years

Sex of prehistoric hand-stencil artists can be determined forensic analysis

Secrets of the paleo diet




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement