Monday, January 01, 2007

Saddam Hussein Environmental Crimes

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was executed on December 30, 2006. He was responsible for the untimely death of many people and he also caused significant damage to the environment.

■ The Marsh Arab “wetland ecosystem … covering about 12,000 square miles as recently as 1985, [were] drained, burned and dammed to the point that only remnants of them still exist. Where once lay healthy, ecologically rich wetlands, teeming with aquatic life, buffalo and migratory birds there now is only barren, salt-encrusted land.” See
■ “During the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi troops intentionally set fire to more than 600 oil wells and dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf as they retreated from Kuwait. … The oil well fires released 500 million tons of carbon dioxide (the leading cause of global warming) and sulfur dioxide (the primary element in acid rain). Black, greasy rain and snow fell up to 1,500 miles from Kuwait.” See
■ “During the 250 days that the fires burned … led to a decrease in seawater temperature, which directly affected the reproduction and growth of organisms in the Persian Gulf.”
■ “The oil that was dumped into the gulf covered 482 miles of shoreline and smothered salt marshes. At one point, there were about 1,000 dead crabs per square yard along the marshes. The oil spills killed more than 25,000 birds from 42 different species. According to scientists, toxic residue could continue to affect the Gulf for more than a century.”
■ “Some 60 million barrels of oil poured into the deserts of Kuwait and formed oil lakes covering 49 square kilometres. From there, the oil slowly percolated down into aquifers and has now poisoned 40 per cent of the underground water - in a country with less water per head than any other.” See
■ “More than 80 percent of Kuwait's livestock perished during the war, while fisheries
were heavily polluted” see


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