Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Even the waste is hazardous in Iraq

We have dramatically slowed the clean-up of hazardous waste sites at home, so I guess we couldn't expect any action in Iraq, even for ones we created:
The UN Environment Program report says Iraq has thousands of heavily contaminated sites that pose a danger to the environment and public health.

A report by UNEP assesses five environmental "hot spots" that were bombed or looted during the coalition-led war.

The report finds all of these locations are contaminated by various toxic compounds, chemicals or pesticides. Four are situated near Baghdad and one near the city of Mosul, potentially putting millions of people at risk.
UNEP estimates it will take $40 million just to identify and clean-up the sites, an absurdly low figure in my view. Among the sites are over 300 contaminated by depleted uranium, used as tips on armor piercing weapons.

Not all the sites are caused by the US occupation. Indeed the Saddam Hussein regime was no friend of the environment. We are just carrying on that policy. I guess we aren't in favor of all aspects of regime change.