Study finds: Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination

Images of Iraq War HERE

• Greater rates of cancer and birth defects near sites
• Depleted uranium among poisons revealed in report
By Martin Chulov in Baghdad
January 22 20110

More than 40 sites across Iraq are contaminated with high levels or radiation and dioxins, with three decades of war and neglect having left environmental ruin in large parts of the country, an official Iraqi study has found.

Areas in and near Iraq’s largest towns and cities, including Najaf, Basra and ­Falluja, account for around 25% of the contaminated sites, which appear to coincide with communities that have seen increased rates of cancer and birth defects over the past five years. The joint study by the environment, health and science ministries found that scrap metal yards in and around Baghdad and Basra contain high levels of ionising radiation, which is thought to be a legacy of depleted uranium used in munitions during the first Gulf war and since the 2003 invasion.

The environment minister, Narmin Othman, said high levels of dioxins on agricultural lands in southern Iraq, in particular, were increasingly thought to be a key factor in a general decline in the health of people living in the poorest parts of the country.

“If we look at Basra, there are some heavily polluted areas there and there are many factors contributing to it,” ­she told the Guardian. “First, it has been a battlefield for two wars, the Gulf war and the Iran-Iraq war, where many kinds of bombs were used. Also, oil pipelines were bombed and most of the contamination settled in and around Basra.

“The soil has ended up in people’s lungs and has been on food that people have eaten. Dioxins have been very high in those areas. All of this has caused systemic problems on a very large scale for both ecology and overall health.”

Government study groups have recently focused on the war-ravaged city of ­Falluja, west of ­Baghdad, where the unstable security situation had kept scientists away ever since fierce fighting between militants and US forces in 2004.

“We have only found one area so far in Falluja,” Othman said. “But there are other areas that we will try to explore soon with international help.”

The Guardian reported in November claims by local doctors of a massive rise in birth defects in the city, particularly neural tube defects, which afflict the spinal cords and brains of newborns. “We are aware of the reports, but we must be cautious in reaching conclusions about causes,” Othman said. “The general health of the city is not good. There is no sewerage system there and there is a lot of stagnant household waste, creating sickness that is directly affecting genetics. We do know, however, that a lot of depleted uranium was used there.

“We have been regulating and monitoring this and we have been urgently trying to assemble a database. We have had co-operation from the United Nations environment programme and have given our reports in Geneva. We have studied 500 sites for chemicals and depleted uranium. Until now we have found 42 places that have been declared as [high risk] both from uranium and toxins.”

Ten of those areas have been classified by Iraq’s nuclear decommissioning body as having high levels of radiation. They include the sites of three former nuclear reactors at the Tuwaitha facility – once the pride of Saddam ­Hussein’s regime on the south-eastern outskirts of Baghdad – as well as former research centres around the capital that were either bombed or dismantled between the two Gulf wars.

The head of the decommissioning body, Adnan Jarjies, said that when inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived to “visit these sites, I tell them that even if we have all the best science in the world to help us, none of them could be considered to be clean before 2020.”

Bushra Ali Ahmed, director of the Radiation Protection Centre in Baghdad, said only 80% of Iraq had so far been surveyed. “We have focused so far on the sites that have been contaminated by the wars,” he said. “We have further plans to swab sites that have been destroyed by war.

“A big problem for us is when say a tank has been destroyed and then moved, we are finding a clear radiation trail. It takes a while to decontaminate these sites.”

Scrap sites remain a prime concern. Wastelands of rusting cars and war damage dot Baghdad and other cities between the capital and Basra, offering unchecked access to both children and scavengers.

Othman said Iraq’s environmental degradation is being intensified by an acute drought and water shortage across the country that has seen a 70% decrease in the volume of water flowing through the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

“We can no longer in good conscience call ourselves the land between the rivers,” she said. “A lot of the water we are getting has first been used by Turkey and Syria for power generation. When it reaches us it is poor quality. That water which is used for agriculture is often contaminated. We are in the midst of an unmatched environmental disaster.” Source

This type of pollution has long term Health afets on the citizens of Iraq.

This type of pollution is a war crime.

This type of pollution is a crime against humanity.

This type of pollution should never be tolerated.

Those responsible should be held accountable.

Children are affected the most as are unborn an new born babies.

If this happened to you or your children would you be thankful to the US and others who invaded your country.

The invasion of Iraq was and still is illegal.

War crimes have been committed and those responsible must be held accountable. Otherwise there is no true justice in the world today.

Over  million died due to the war and many more are dieing due to the pollution left by the invaders.

When war crimes or crimes against humanity are being committed the World must stand up and say No More.  Those responsible must be sent to the Hague for trial.

In the case of Iraq there is more then enough evidence to go forward with a trial. The Holocaust in Iraq must be recognized.

We must never turn a blind eye to these  crimes.

These crimes are no less then any others that have been committed in our world. If these types of crimes were committed by a leader in Africa they surly would be charged and imprisoned.  War criminals should be prosecuted to the greatest extent the law will allow..

Those who pollute are prosecuted are they not?

This was premeditated murder  of over a million people..

This was  deliberate, toxic, deadly, long term, life threatening, cancer causing,  pollution of an entire country.

Why are the ones who planned it and perpetrated the crimes are  still walking free? WHY?

Diplomatic immunity does not apply in this case.  If that were the Case Saddam would not have been tried and hung. Saddam also did not kill over a million people. Anything said of Saddam is ten fold less then what was done to the innocent victims of Iraq by those who planned the war and the aftermath.

For more information on Iraq and other war pollution the link below has a lot of information. It also has information on Health issues.

New information is added to the War Pollution link as I find it.

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

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Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 8:12 pm  Comments Off on Study finds: Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination  
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