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Alarm over environment pollution in Basra


Iraqi legislators and ecologists have warned against possible environment pollution to sweep the southern Iraq city of Basra, calling on the government to find quick solutions. "Basra, which has turned into a dump for refuse thrown in the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, is facing a serious environmental problem. We have fears about an environmental disaster in the city," independent lawmaker Wael Abdellatif told Aswat al-Iraq..."I appeal to international organizations to help Iraq and save it from its pollution on the grounds that is a global, not a local, issue," Suhail said, noting the government measures "are weak and inconsistent with the magnitude of the catastrophic damage Basra is facing". Munjid Abdelbaqi, a nuclear expert at the Iraqi science & technology ministry's hazardous material department, warned that if the issue of scrap resulting from the U.S. forces' pounding of Iraqi tanks with depleted uranium (DU) during the first and second Gulf wars, there is definitely going to be an environmental disaster in Basra in particular and Iraq in general...

[47544]



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Alarm over environment pollution in Basra

Voices of Iraq


BASRA, Sept. 23, 2008 (Aswat al-Iraq) ľ Iraqi legislators and ecologists have warned against possible environment pollution to sweep the southern Iraq city of Basra, calling on the government to find quick solutions.

"Basra, which has turned into a dump for refuse thrown in the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, is facing a serious environmental problem. We have fears about an environmental disaster in the city," independent lawmaker Wael Abdellatif told Aswat al-Iraq.

Abdellatif, a former governor of Basra, Iraq's only outlet to the sea, pointed out that saltiness rates in the terrain grew high due to the low water level in Tigris and Euphrates. "Germs rates also increased as a result of the disposal of industry wastes into the two rivers, in addition to the passage of oil pipelines via Shatt al-Arab, whose fish wealth is endangered," he explained.

Shatt al-Arab is a river channel, about 193 km (120 mi) long, of southeast Iraq formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and flowing southeast to the Gulf. The Shatt al Arab forms part of the Iraq-Iran border, and navigation rights to the channel have long been disputed by the two countries.
Abdelhadi al-Hassani, a member of the parliament's oil & gas committee, termed as "moribund" Basra, the cradle of the first civilization of Sumer.

"It's all because of this deliberate negligence by the government during the past period," he complained, noting Basra was polluted by the landfill of oil refinery wastes, which might cause cancer.

The area surrounding Basra, 590 km (340 miles) south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, has substantial petroleum resources and many oil wells. The city's oil refinery has a production capacity of about 140,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Qusay al-Suhail, an ecologist, blamed the Basra pollution on the accumulated problems during the former regime's time.

"I appeal to international organizations to help Iraq and save it from its pollution on the grounds that is a global, not a local, issue," Suhail said, noting the government measures "are weak and inconsistent with the magnitude of the catastrophic damage Basra is facing".

Munjid Abdelbaqi, a nuclear expert at the Iraqi science & technology ministry's hazardous material department, warned that if the issue of scrap resulting from the U.S. forces' pounding of Iraqi tanks with depleted uranium (DU) during the first and second Gulf wars, there is definitely going to be an environmental disaster in Basra in particular and Iraq in general.

"The Iraqi-Kuwaiti borders have become a contaminated area, in addition to other areas on the Iraqi-Saudi borders and Baghdad province," Abdelbaqi said.
He urged the U.S. administration to provide his ministry with the maps indicating the places where uranium shells fell.

"The U.S. forces are denying Iraqi experts access to some radioactive areas," he said, noting the current radiations caused by uranium shells are estimated at 100 times the internationally-accepted limits.

AmR (I)





:: Article nr. 47544 sent on 27-sep-2008 05:36 ECT

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