October 15, 2002
A peaceful day!
I am a student praying for a war-free world. I therefore implore you to refrain from declaring war against Iraq or any other country because your war or any other war causes environmental disaster among others. In the course of war, almost everything is disregarded and many things will be sacrificed. For sure your military bases will need large areas of lands which are ecologically useful, this will surely lead to destruction of any fauna seen as a hindrance to the war activity. Your military’s toxic waste also poses enormous threat to the environment. Large amounts of toxic pollution left from the production, storage, and testing of chemical, biological, nuclear, and conventional weapons contaminate millions of acres awaiting redevelopment. Your advanced weapons may also increase the incidence of environmental destruction through the release of industrial chemicals. Modern weapons rely on toxic chemicals for much of their explosive force and propulsion, hence, they create negative environmental impacts through their own composition as well as their destructive power. When a heavy bomb goes off, it creates temperatures of approximately 3,000 degrees Celsius; this may annihilate all flora and fauna at the same time may destroy the lower layers of soil, which can take anywhere from 1,500 to 7,400 years to regenerate. Your weapons are destructive enough but the targets you destroy can also be a significant contributor to the environmental devastation like what happened during the war in Balkans. NATO has bombed petro-chemical plants in Pancevo and Sremicica in the suburbs of Belgrade. These air raids destroyed a plastics factory and an ammonia production unit within the complexes, releasing toxins such as chlorine, ethylene dichloride, and vinyl chloride monomer into the atmosphere. These chemicals not only have an immediate and life-threatening effect on humans but also have a residual effect on the environment.
Moreover, the Gulf war produced similar negative environmental impacts through the targeting of oil tankers and oil production facilities. According to the 1993 Marine Pollution Bulletin, 6-8 million barrels of crude oil was spilled from sunken vessels (including Iraqi tankers) and from oil transfer facilities such as the Kuwaiti Mina Al-Ahmadi Sea Island terminal and Iraqi Mina Al Bakr loading terminal on 1991. Reports showed that about 30,000 marine birds disappeared as a result of this incident, and this figure excludes those that were trapped in oil pools in the desert. In addition, approximately 20% of mangroves were contaminated, 50% of coral reefs affected, and hundreds of square miles of sea grass infected.
A war could also cause Depleted Uranium contamination which could internally and externally expose the people. This DU contamination could be present as small particles uranium dust and aerosols and can be transported to the environment and expose people through many pathways. External exposure could result from gamma radiation emitted from some radio nuclides in the uranium 238 series and uranium 235 series. The internal exposure could result from ingestion of radio nuclides that contaminated the environment earlier that they reach the plants through root uptake or from contaminated meat or other animal products that became contaminated through ingestion of contaminated pasture or forage. Not only that, the aquatic system might also become contaminated through floods or water run-off.
The disastrous effects of war could be endless, the only way to stop it is not to declare war in the first place. I’m looking forward to a war-free world, I hope you do too!
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002