November 26, 2010

Iraq : An American-Iranian Ecological Disaster.

I wanted to go for a long walk, and breath some fresh air, but I changed my mind. I have stored yesterday's information in my mind and scribbled a few facts on a piece of paper and I do not wish to lose any of the data. This is urgent. Dead urgent, like everything else in Iraq.

I have written before maybe not a great length, about the ecological disaster that has befallen Iraq following the American occupation in 2003. A multifaceted environmental crisis which has already produced some bitter fruits.

There is of course the million of years life span contamination of Iraqi soil and water with Depleted Uranium, and I suppose by now, the reader is familiar with the effects of D.U on Iraqi people and their health system, with the soaring birth defects, and cancer rates among children not sparing women, men nor the elderly. A quick search on Falluja and Basra will be a good reminder.

Besides D.U there is also the destruction of arable land. The Americans proceeded to burn entire agricultural fields, orchards and palm trees. By way of example, in the past Iraq had 350 different kinds of dates and used to export dates to the whole world, today it imports dates.

The destruction of arable land was also exacerbated with the drought situation in Iraq. The diminishing levels of water from the two major rivers due to Iran, Syria and Turkey basically diverting the water flow to their countries, through the construction of illegal dams -- despite signed protocols and agreements between Iraq and these countries. The drought had become so severe that Iraq had to beg Turkey for some water last year. Iran on the other hand has been let off the hook for obvious reasons - it has a government in Baghdad.

But there are more aspects to the nefarious Iranian role in Iraq besides having a government in central Baghdad and stealing water...Iran dumps its radioactive nuclear waste in the Anbar province and of course no one talks about the cancer rates in the Anbar, and it also dumps daily an efflux in cubic meters of polluted industrial sewage water through three huge pipes from the Khuzestan province into Shatt Al-Arab in Basra.

Shat Al-Arab is the main source of water for the whole southern area of Iraq. The dumping of industrial toxic waste and sewage into that strait meant a higher salinity of the waters and in the space of a few weeks due to the contamination and salinity of the water 17km of Basra's agricultural lands are no longer of use. They basically dried up with the industrial toxic salts. If this trends continue, all of Basra's arable land will die. The ratio is roughly 40 cubic meters of dumped industrial poison a day causes 3km of arable (Arab) land to vanish. So far Iran has dumped between 40'000 to 65'000 TDS (total dissolved solids) of toxic waste.

Independent Iraqi environmental experts are already talking of an another ecological disaster in the South, the extinction of flora and fauna, the end of biodiversity in that area, and most important the irremediable contamination of water that is used for drinking and agriculture.

Despite the fact that both Iran and Iraq are signatories to various Environmental agreements including the RAMSAR agreement of 1971 and the Rio agreement of 1992 plus other bilateral protocols (that includes Syria and Turkey by the way), it seems that none of these agreements have been respected. Iraqi environmentalist are urging to take Iran to the international court of Justice to stop this disaster from engulfing the whole Iraqi provinces.

Iran of course could process its industrial waste in a different manner instead of dumping it into Shatt Al-Arab, polluting, contaminating and contributing to the death of the Iraqi south, but Iran considers Iraq its garbage dump. The sectarian Shia government in Baghdad ensures it does.

And there is much more to the Iraqi ecological disaster...but I will content myself with the above for today.