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org/2001/06/iraq-pays-environmental-reparations 30 September 2013

Iraq Pays 'Environmental Reparations'

Starved Syria civilians flee besieged Damascus suburb
27 June 2001 7:00 pm 0 Comments

Five Middle Eastern countries will soon get unprecedented payments to conduct studies of the environmental damage caused by the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, when Iraqi troops set fire to hundreds of Kuwaiti oil wells, shrouding the region in smoke for months. The money is part of reparations being drawn from the Iraq "oil for food" fund run by the United Nations (U.N.).

On 21 June, the U.N. Compensation Commission (UNCC) governing council approved distributing $243 million from the fund for environmental assessment and monitoring research, with the lion's share going to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and smaller amounts to Iran, Jordan, and Syria. The nations have UNCC approval for 107 studies, including surveying coastlines for spilled oil, studying smoke damage to archaeological sites, and following health effects in people who inhaled the smoke. Once the damage has been assessed, countries will file claims against Iraq for remediation and restoration projects.

Julia Klee of UNCC says, "as far as we're aware, this is the first time" a country has paid environmental damages after a war. The money should be disbursed within a month. "From a legal perspective, it's wonderful to have an international tribunal recognize that environmental damage is a significant component of armed conflict," says Carl Bruch of the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C.

War and the Environment1

Richard P. Tucker The environmental legacy of warfare and mass violence has recently emerged as a recognized dimension of environmental history. It draws on many familiar subjects, from the history of state formations, social structures and economics to military, demographic and disease history, and historical geography. Military historians have routinely written about the significance of terrain and weather for the planning and management of campaigns. Moreover, they have frequently

traced military planners' concern for manipulation of the natural resources that are essential (or at least valuable) for their strategic purposes, and even the use of natural processes (such as fire) as weapons. But their interest lies almost exclusively with the human drama; they almost never go beyond that to consider the resulting transformations of ecosystems. They see Nature as context, but not as consequence, of mass violence. Environmental historians have often discussed elements of the history of warfare. But until recently they rarely considered the dynamics of mass violence or the structures of military operations in relation to state, society, economy and ecology as the organizing focus of their work. To date, most of the work has centered on the industrial era, beginning with the American Civil War, and thus has addressed the leading industrial countries. Centering at first on the global devastations of two world wars, studies have broadened to consider the structures and consequences of massive permanent military establishments, especially during the Cold War. Themes include the global reach of the major economies for control of strategic resources, and the impacts on economies and ecosystems. Yet a full perspective on the worldwide history of war's ecological consequences is still to emerge. Brief but provocative surveys of pre-modern regions and long historical themes have begun to appear, as building blocks toward a full global history. Beyond that, what outlines can be sketched? This essay illustrates several themes that appear in the emerging synthesis. Campaigns of Conquest and Frontier Wars Expanding empires' shifting frontier zones have often undergone major environmental transformations. Under the Roman Empire, as imperial armies moved northward in the conquest of Gaul and then southern Germany and Britain in the first centuries of the common era, their engineers built a system of allweather roads so superbly engineered that some are still in use today.2 On the northern frontiers of the empire, as far as the Rhine and beyond, a string of fortified military cantonments sustained garrisons of troops. These military installations were the nuclei of the domestication of entire landscapes, as peasants cleared hundreds of patches of forest for settled agriculture, even in the midst of chronic skirmishes between the Romans and their Germanic adversaries. 3 When the empire declined and its military control dissolved, hundreds of settlements remained into medieval times. In the Middle East, the Arab Muslim conquest of the Tigris and Euphrates valley was very different, as a long-settled civilization came under conquest. The hot, semi-arid lands of the basin had been domesticated for thousands of years by the construction of elaborate irrigation systems which were prone to processes of waterlogging, siltation and salination.4 Periodic warfare among city states and regional empires repeatedly disrupted the system's productivity. By the time the

first Arab Muslim armies penetrated into the Fertile Crescent in the late 630s the region's irrigation system was in serious decline.5 The Muslim overlords in the new city of Baghdad encouraged the revival of rural productivity, partly to enhance state revenues, which they used to finance military campaigns. But the long-term ecological decline of the irrigated lands could only be partially reversed. Mongol invaders raced through the Abbasid Empire's heartland and captured Baghdad in 1259, massacring the entire population of the city. "Baghdad and Iraq never again recovered their central position in the Islamic world. The immediate effects of the invasion were the breakdown of civil government and the consequent collapse of the elaborate irrigation works on which the country depended for its prosperity, even for its life."6 Throughout the turbulent history of the Middle East since then, irrigation systems have been vulnerable targets for armies.7 The environmental history of Imperial China's frontiers was closer to that of Imperial Rome in some ways, in sparsely settled zones of contest with barbarians. On China's northwest frontier, facing perennial threats from nomadic warriors of the Mongolian steppes, Chinese emperors built defensive fortifications dominated by the thousand-kilometer-long Great Wall, clearing forests on some adjacent lands for security. They protected other forest zones, to guard against invading cavalry.8 In contrast, they pursued a policy of imperial conquest in the southwestern frontier region, where mountainous Guizhou province was home to a wide range of tribal cultures, especially the Miao, who resisted Chinese civilization for centuries. Like the Romans, Chinese armies built roads and garrison settlements to move military columns and pacify the region, opening it to agricultural settlement and forest reduction by immigrants from the north.9 Often protracted and intermittent, frontier wars were similar in many ways to modern guerrilla warfare and counter-insurgency, though they did not result in the devastation that is caused by today's counter-insurgency weapons. They were characterized by seasonal skirmishes and raids, fortified outposts, capture of loot including movable natural resources, and probably most significant, the dislocation of rural populations. Many were fought in mountainous or hilly areas, on forested slopes with easily eroded soils. Foraging Armies Until recent times armies lived off the land; their logistical support systems were so rudimentary that nothing else was possible.10 This process provides the key to much of the damage caused by wars, from ancient times onwards. Classical Greece exemplified the process. The Mediterranean borderlands feature long hot summers and short wet winters; their topography is mostly mountainous, with soils that are light and easily eroded once natural

vegetation is removed. Armies of the Greek city-states pillaged their enemies' farmlands, destroying annual crops and olive groves.11 Rural people fled to safety in the hill forests or fortified towns ahead of advancing military columns. In the Peloponnesian War (43104 BCE), which ended the golden age of Athens, the Spartan army repeatedly ravaged the farmlands of Attica, Athens' agricultural base, destroying crops in an unsuccessful effort to starve the city into submission.12 These campaigns were the grim precursors of modern "total war," obliterating the distinction between civilian and military targets. The short-term impacts were obvious to everyone involved; the longer-term environmental results are more difficult to measure. Southern Italy suffered similar damage to its agricultural lands on a larger scale two centuries later, when the Carthaginian general Hannibal invaded the Roman Republic in the Second Punic War (21901). In a long military stalemate, thirteen years of annual summertime fighting in southern Italy impoverished the land, as both armies attempted to deprive each other of provisions.13 The environmental result was neglect of tilled lands, forest depletion in hill regions and watersheds, soil erosion into streams and rivers, and coastal siltation. In the disturbed coastal zone malaria became endemic, throughout the region's subsequent history until the DDT campaign that followed World War II. In the monsoon climate belt the Indian subcontinent saw similar impacts of military movements. In the upper Indus and Ganges river basin, the Mughal empire's armies (15241707) led by elephant corps and cavalry devoured the food and fodder resources of the land. The imperial army was a mobile city of nearly a million fighters, camp followers, and suppliers, who stripped wide areas of everything useful as they moved. Cavalry swept the countryside, depopulating villages; rural society and its biological base could take decades to recover from the disruption. 14 Medieval European history showed similar patterns on the land during wartime. Until the late 1700s a perennial problem was how armies were recruited and compensated. Lords on manorial estates and the serfs who worked their lands were both warriors whenever military campaigning demanded. In the age of chivalry mounted knights on heavy horses dominated battles. Foot soldiers were of two sorts: local militias of impressed peasants, and mercenary bands organized by military entrepreneurs. Their rewards most often came in the form of booty, a chaotic process always disruptive to agro-ecosystems. The Hundred Years War in France (13371453) was a major example of undisciplined armies ravaging crop lands, marshlands and woodlands. Many campaigns were renewed for years, devouring both woods and croplands in the process.15 In the twilight zone between mass violence and peaceful times,

including after campaigns were over and temporary troops were disbanded, brigandage (hardly distinguishable from regular soldiering) festered. 16 Lands deserted when rural people became refugees reverted toward natural woodlands and wetlands, with concomitantly increasing species diversity. The short-term damage to partially domesticated landscapes was evident to anyone with eyes. The long-term ecological transformations of the early medieval period are difficult to assess, since the long term was a matter of peacetime recovery processes. Fortifications and Sieges Throughout medieval Europe, in the decentralized society that succeeded the Roman era, lords of the land built massive fortifications surrounded by earthen ramparts with wooden palisades. Each required rock from quarries and timber from forests; each had moats and ramparts that disturbed the soil. Hundreds of manorial castles and fortified towns dotted the land, and each was surrounded by crop lands, pastures and forests. Sieges of these fortresses and fortified towns often lasted for entire summer seasons, when invading armies could be maintained. Attacks and counter-attacks left more severe damage to surrounding lands than the simple passage of a moving army. Rebuilding settlements after the end of a war required yet another round of timber supplies.17 Warfare coincided with disease and helped spread epidemics of plague, typhus and other diseases; in tandem war and epidemics reduced population. The greatest example in Eurasian history was the 134851 bubonic plague, which killed something like one third of Europe's people in the midst of the Hundred Years War. The mortality was likely intensified for both military and civilian populations in the disrupted conditions of war zones.18 In the postwar stillness once-tilled farms were deserted, reverting to pasture or more gradually to secondary woodlands where wildlife flourished and local biodiversity increased in semi-wild habitats. But in the longer run these changes were usually reversed, for farmers sooner or later renewed agricultural landscapes with the return of peace and security. The destructive power of weapons began to accelerate when gunpowder, was introduced into Europe in the 1300s, and was followed by the development of steadily more powerful cannons. In response, fortifications became far more elaborate by the 1500s. The Military Revolution was in full swing, accelerating arms races on both land and sea.19 In the Thirty Years War (161848) northern Europe degenerated into chaos, as anarchic military bands repeatedly pillaged the land until the region reached a point of general exhaustion.20 In the aftermath much of Europe saw the emergence of centralizing states with ever-expanding professional armies, supported by vastly expanded fiscal administration and government revenues.21 Disciplined armies with better

organized supply lines meant reduced environmental damage in the lands of neutral populations. Though there had always been close relations between rulers and civilian suppliers, this era showed the clear emergence of a "militaryindustrial complex," in which governments coordinated closely with their suppliers.22 Taxation became more regular, as military economies became more systematized and provided support for accelerating lethality.23 Bankers and merchants could follow the temptations of profiteering on a previously unknown scale a driving force behind warfare, though not always visible. In all, Europe's expanding imperial states would lead toward both global conquest and evergreater scale of destructive power in the industrial era. Globalization: The West's Modern Empires Until the sixteenth century the ecological impacts of wars were largely limited to areas of conflict and their source locations for wood and metals. Then pressures on the biosphere rose, as the era of the imperial nation-state and largescale capital and industry accelerated the technological impacts associated with global trade and transport.24 The frontier wars of European conquest were the cutting edge. Over a half millennium European empires, later joined by the United States, dismantled non-state societies in temperate forests, savanna lands, and tropical rainforests. The Western empires commanded weaponry that ultimately overwhelmed all opponents by the late nineteenth century.25 Early ecological damage outside Europe reflected the navies' needs for construction timber and naval stores. By the 1700s European navies began cutting the hardwood and white pine stands of northeastern North America, the coastal hardwoods of Brazil, and later the teak forests of monsoon Asia, to find substitutes for the depleted English oak and Scandinavian conifers.26 The most fundamental ecological impact of Europe's global conquests occurred in the Americas, where Europeans brought with them epidemic diseases that were a holocaust for the indigenous people. Up to 90 percent of the indigenous American population had died by the late sixteenth century.27 This depopulation led to widespread abandonment of cultivated lands and reversion to secondary forest, often for long periods. In Latin America even in the 1500s the impacts of conquest registered on lowland coastal zones and riverine forests, the highlands of Mexico and the Andes, where sheep and goats came to rule degraded pasture lands, and the wide natural grasslands where cattle soon prevailed.28 Aside from these cases, the systematic study of environmental changes caused by warfare in Latin America has barely begun.29 In an ironic case of warfare and epidemic disease, by the 1700s IberianAmericans who had settled in the New World were relatively immune to malaria

and yellow fever. The dreaded twin diseases were their allies in defending their colonial empires against newcomer challengers from northern Europe, until the collapse of the Old Regimes in Spain and Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars. 30 In North American woodland settings the impact of endemic frontier warfare was somewhat different. There Europeans followed up their conquests by settling on the land and clearing temperate forests far more readily than they could anchor themselves in tropical forest zones. In contrast to Latin America, where populations did not recover to their pre-1492 levels until around 1800, the native populations of North America were fully replaced by North European immigrants in much shorter order, and croplands replaced forests. 31 Wars of the Industrial Era The great escalation of modern warfare and its environmental impacts began in Europe in the 1790s, when revolutionary France and Napoleon expanded both the intensity of warfare and its continent-wide reach.32 Responding to counterrevolutionary military threats from other countries, the leaders of the revolution appealed to French patriotism (an emerging alternative to religious fervor) and mobilized huge semi-trained armies. From 1793 onward French mass armies moved into Belgium and beyond. Badly supplied, they ravaged rural lands to the north as they moved. The era of patriotic armies had begun, though disciplined logistics of the industrial era were not keeping pace. The Napoleonic wars also disrupted intercontinental transport of food supplies, in one case resulting in a major long-term change in cropping patterns. The British naval blockade after 1805 cut off supplies of cane sugar from the Caribbean to French ports. In response, new techniques of extracting sugar from beets led to an explosion of sugar-beet farming in the heavy soils and cool climate of northern Europe. Meanwhile the former slaves of Haiti turned their work from half-deserted cane plantations in the fertile lowlands to subsistence cropping in the erosive hill woodlands, and Haiti became one of the most degraded landscapes in the Americas. In this way Europe's revolutionary wars had unintended ecological consequences across the ocean.33 From the mid-nineteenth century onward Western European and American industry produced a leap upward in destructive capacity, through revolutionary innovations in mass production. By the late 1800s highly accurate breech-loading Enfield, Mauser, and Springfield rifles and Maxim machine guns transformed the battlefield, and more powerful explosives were capable of ravaging both urban and rural targets. Moreover, railroads and steamships gave industrialized nations far greater mobility and international reach. In addition to their civilian uses, they moved troops and materiel rapidly, inexpensively, and far, making possible the

conquest of the rest of the world.34 Nineteenth century Africa underwent the culmination of Europe's globalization, based on the increasingly dominant military capacity of Europe.35 In southeastern Africa the Zulu wars of the early 1800s led to British control of the coastal lowlands and interior hills, and the Zulu people were gradually forced to settle on the semi-arid high plains of the interior.36 Among the colonies that Germany claimed after 1885, the forest resources of Tanzania came under management of the authoritarian German tradition, sharply restricting the rights of access and trade for the local people. In 1905 Tanzanians revolted, and the two-year Maji Maji rebellion that followed until the German colonial army suppressed it was the first of the wars of national resistance against European colonial rulers.37 The flora and fauna resources of the colonies would see many contestations. But these first studies of the environmental impacts of Europe's conquest wars in sub-Saharan Africa give only fragmentary hints at the overall picture. The U. S. Civil War had already given a grim demonstration of the environmental dangers of the new industrial warfare. When it began in 1861, no one expected the war to grind on for over four years, but its glacial momentum toward exhaustion of the South produced widespread destruction of croplands and fodder resources by Northern armies, extending to deliberate scorched-earth campaigns in its last two years.38 These strategies were not new in the history of warfare, but their scale and intensity were unprecedented. Ultimately the manpower, economic wealth, and industrial power of the North prevailed. Northern armies could be supplied and supported more consistently by the northern railroad network connecting military movements back to factories and farms. Even so, environmental war against the southern landscape provided the decisive blow. The experience trained northern soldiers to attack and destroy the food supplies of the indigenous tribes in the American West, including their herds of bison, as an acceptable strategy in the conquest of that great frontier.39 In Europe in the same decade, Germany harnessed the industrial revolution to accelerate military mobilization. Rapid victories over the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then France resulted from skillful movement of the German armies over the new railway networks, with communications provided by the new telegraph, while more powerful artillery damaged woodlands and cities.40 Great Britain, faced with the new challenge from Germany, strove to maintain its control of the seas by producing rapid innovations in naval technology, which required that military planners and industrialists work closely together.41 In the process, petroleum emerged as a strategic resource; by the dawn of the twentieth century petroleum was the energy source that fueled warfare. In terms of ecological violence, mid-nineteenth-century wars and the concomitant arms race were merely overtures to the two world wars that followed after 1900, when the

environmental impacts of warfare became truly global. The Century of Total War Contemporaries called this the Great War, in which the military-industrial complex finally matured. The industrial capacity for warfare had accelerated rapidly since 1870, and all combatant economies had forged close ties between military commanders and industrial designers and managers.42 By 1914 war in Europe could be pursued with railway and wheeled vehicles, and during the war the first air forces appeared. The consequences caught everyone strategically unprepared. As the war on the Western front bogged down in a three-year stalemate along hundreds of miles of trenches in Flanders and northern France, millions of bomb and shell craters left puddles, ponds, and mud where crop fields and woodlands had been before. On both sides of the war, improved longdistance food transport enabled mass armies to be sustained year-round, and battles to be fought almost endlessly. On occasion, armies deliberately deprived both enemy units and civilians of food, fiber, and fodder by ravaging land and destroying stored crops. In early 1917, as the German armies withdrew from the Somme battlefields, they systematically destroyed nearly every building, fence, well, bridge, and tree over an area sixty-five by twenty miles to deprive the advancing enemy of sustenance and cover.43 In eastern Europe the wide and constantly shifting battle zone between the German and Russian armies opened remote areas to development and pointed toward vast damage to forests, marshes and agricultural zones in World War II. The war also saw the first large-scale use of chemical warfare. Germany, France and Britain all attempted to develop chemical weapons before 1914. Germany's chemical industry, the world's leader, forged close cooperation with her military, enabling the German army to use massive amounts of chlorine and mustard gas on Allied troops. By the war's end chemical warfare produced 1.3 million casualties, including ninety thousand deaths; mustard gas and other chemical agents temporarily poisoned lands on and near the battlefields. It is difficult to assess the immediate environmental impact, because no one measured it, but its carryover effect was massive. Chemical warfare increased the size of chemical industries, demonstrated the value of scientific research to chemists and governments, and helped inspire postwar pesticides. And military aircraft became the backbone of postwar crop dusting, increasing the scale on which pest control was economical.44 Throughout Europe and even overseas, forests came under unprecedented wartime pressures. Lengthy bombardments in battle zones shattered forests that had been carefully managed for centuries. For hundreds of miles behind the lines, massive emergency fellings of timber were carried out. Only the great forest zone of Russia escaped heavy exploitation, since imperial Russia's

transport system was still rudimentary. The British, Canadians, and Americans organized large timber shipments from North America and even India's monsoon forests. But this war saw only the beginnings of tree cutting from tropical rainforests, since logging and transport facilities were still in their infancy, even in the colonial forests of British and French West Africa.45 Perhaps equally important for the longer run, government forestry agencies in many countries took greater control over forest resources during the war. The immediate postwar period saw reforestation programs in both Europe and North America, in which single-species tree plantations replaced the greater variety of species in the former natural forests. Between the two world wars further acceleration of military industry enabled militarized states to mobilize far greater resources from around the world than a quarter century before, and impose new levels of destruction. When Japan attacked China in 1937 and then Hitler's armies invaded Poland in late 1939, they unleashed a war in which seventy million people would die, and his own country ultimately suffered some of the most total devastation, particularly at the hands of the Allied air forces. By the summer of 1945 British and American bombers, dropping incendiary bombs produced by the rapidly maturing chemical industry, leveled one hundred thirty German cities, killing some six hundred thousand civilians. The postwar reconstruction, physical as well as social, would be daunting. In combat zones the forests of Europe were once again badly damaged by fighting. Behind the lines of combat, timber was cut at the most urgent rates that the limited available workforce could achieve, and great forests of Norway and Poland were looted of their timber wealth. This time, even more than in the previous war, the battle zones of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East could call upon timber resources from other continents. Both harvesting machinery and transport networks (from forest roads to harbor facilities to oceanic shipping) were more highly developed than in the previous war, though the vast forest resources of Asian Russia were still largely inaccessible. In the Far East, Japan had pre-empted Soviet interest in the industrial belt of Manchuria by occupying it as early as 1931. Six years later Japanese armies, supported by Japanese aerial bombing of Chinese cities, advanced westward across China. In the war's most notorious action, the retreating Chinese Nationalist leadership broke the Yellow River dikes, flooding vast areas of intensely cultivated lowlands, drowning over 800,000 people and turning 2 million others into refugees. 46 Between them, the Nationalist and Japanese armies produced a scale of human and environmental damage by war's end that is still not fully measured. In early 1942, immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan's war machine

continued down the Pacific, quickly seizing the strategic forest and rubber resources of the Philippines, Indonesia and mainland Southeast Asia. For roughly three years, until they were beaten back, the occupying Japanese forces brutalized forests and plantations, leaving a seriously compromised environmental legacy. 47 The war in the Pacific had impacts on island biota, coastal coral ecosystems and the aquatic environment that had no previous parallel in that ocean's web of life. Small islands support limited varieties of plant and animal species. Coral atolls have thin, fragile soils; they are exceptionally vulnerable to the impacts of human conflict. On both steep volcanic islands and coral atolls the fighting produced fundamental ecological degradation of forests, watersheds, coastal swamplands, and coral reefs. World War II marked another watershed in the history of warfare: for the first time more soldiers died in battle than of disease. Diseases, of both humans and livestock, had spread into the Pacific with traumatic impacts ever since the 1770s, but the Pacific War ended with a dramatic reverse. Until 1943 malaria caused nearly ten times as many casualties as battles. Thereafter DDT almost totally controlled the disease among the troops before the war's end. No one at the time foresaw the massive environmental damage that DDT would produce in peacetime.48 For marine resources the war had paradoxical effects. Commercial fisheries and whaling fleets were largely destroyed, docked, or transformed into military uses until 1945, leaving fish stocks and marine mammal populations to recover somewhat, though submarine warfare killed some whales, and any increase in their numbers was very temporary.49 In Japan itself the war had tragic ecological as well as human impacts. For Japan's forest resources the loss of import sources (especially the northwest coast of North America) meant intensive cutting of domestic forests, even ancient stands that had been preserved for centuries, for charcoal, firewood, and construction. In many locations the direct result was loss of soil and damage to water regimes. On Japan's farms food production expanded urgently, especially on marginal lands.50 American incendiary bombing, following the attacks on German cities, almost totally destroyed Japan's urban areas, which had been built largely of wood. Finally, Japan suffered the ultimate environmental disaster, the impact of nuclear bombs, when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were leveled on August 6 and 9, 1945. The two cities were rapidly rebuilt after the war, and the local flora made a surprisingly rapid recovery from radioactive pollution, yet the human costs of the two bombs are still being counted.

By August 1945 the United States was triumphant, having suffered relatively little long-term damage to its domestic resources and ecosystems or to its additional source areas in Latin America. Its military industry had grown exponentially, and military-industrial coordination had reached high levels. Hence that war sowed the seeds of later disasters, which began to be evident as the Cold War deepened after 1948. The Cold War The global arms race after 1945 produced incalculable accelerations of every tool of destruction.51 One of the smallest weapons, though multiplied almost countless times, has been the land mine. Some one hundred million unexploded anti-personnel mines remain around the planet, littering rural Vietnam, Afghanistan, and many other war-torn countries, grievously retarding the restoration of postwar farms, pastures, forests, and water regimes. These and a Pandora's box of other weapons have spread through many unstable regions of the post-colonial worldAfrica and elsewhere. Grim contributions to wars both civil and trans-boundary, they have also extracted a widespread ecological toll on forests, savannas, and farmlands.52 Equally widespread by the time the Cold War ended in 1990, long-term pollution effects of military industry left many locations severely poisoned. Weapons production sites and testing grounds in the United States required massively expensive cleanups of a broad spectrum of toxic wastes. Even more appalling, large areas of Soviet and Eastern European land and air had become virtual wastelands, and even the Arctic Ocean north of Russia was severely polluted.53 Chemical warfare reached a new level of destruction in the Second Vietnam War (1961-1975), as the U.S. Air Force applied Agent Orange and other defoliants to the forests of Indochina. In addition to fourteen million tons of bombs and shells, American planes sprayed forty-four million liters of Agent Orange and twenty-eight million liters of other defoliants over Vietnam. The result was serious damage to 1.7 million hectares of upland forest and mangrove marshes, widespread soil poisoning or loss of soil, and destruction of wildlife and fish habitat.54 Most potent of all in the post-1945 years, nuclear technology became the most ominous environmental threat in history, though its greatest impact resulted from the peacetime armament race rather than from actual war. Until international nuclear-testing freeze conventions came into effect, weapons testing sites, such as Soviet sites in Central Asia and Britain's testing grounds in central Australia, became uninhabitable for almost all forms of life. And in the southern Pacific Ocean, islands and their coastal reefs, their civilian populations entirely removed by force, became unfit for life as a result of American and French nuclear weapons testing.55 Beyond that, in the nuclear industrial complex, many

weapons production and storage sites became highly radioactive. In the United States, nuclear facilities in Washington state, Colorado, and elsewhere became radioactive sewers. Soviet nuclear weapons sites were even more highly radioactive.56 Finally, twentieth-century warfare has made a major contribution to warming of the global atmosphere. Military establishments consume great amounts of fossil fuels, contributing directly to global warming. The Persian Gulf War of 1991 was the most notorious case of atmospheric pollution in wartime, as the plumes of burning oil wells darkened skies for months far downwind. It now seems that the fires caused less regional and global air pollution than was feared in their immediate aftermath, though they dropped heavy pollution on nearby deserts, farmlands, and the Gulf's waters.57 Conclusions In the present state of research there is a wide need for more studies of the long-term ecological legacies of warfare. The immediate impacts of conflicts are far easier to assess, especially since the wars of the nineteenth century. But they do not necessarily represent the ecological or agro-ecological viability of the longer run, for this also reflects the great capacities of societies to restore damaged landscapes to productivity. The great marshes of southern Iraq are a dramatic recent example of restoration. In the aftermath of the Gulf War of 1991, Saddam Hussein retaliated against the tribal sheikhs and Shia population of the south by diverting the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, turning some 90% of the marshes into a desert wasteland. After his overthrow early in the present Iraq war, a coalition of local people, private volunteer organizations and the United Nations Environmental Program began a program of re-flooding the marshlands. In spite of continued violence in the region, roughly one third of the marshes have been restored to something like their previous health for both the Marsh Arabs and the fecundity of fish, migratory birds, and other species.58 As this example suggests, the long history of restoration work deserves greater emphasis than most of our narratives of wars' impacts acknowledge. In sum, by now it is widely recognized that human history has to be understood in the wider context of interactions between societies and the natural world. But we are only beginning to recognize that mass conflict a pervasive and distinctive dimension of human affairs has had complex and portentous consequences for the biosphere, and for the human place in it. Richard P. Tucker is Adjunct Professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan. He is author or editor of several books on tropical forest history, the history of American extraction of tropical resources, and the history of environmental impacts of warfare.


A subsequent version of this article will be published in a forthcoming book, J. R. McNeill and Erin C. Stewart, eds., A Companion to Global Environmental History (Blackwell Publishing).

Adrian K. Goldsworthy, Roman Warfare (London: Cassell, 2000).

C. R. Whittaker, Frontiers of the Roman Empire: A Social and Economic Study (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).

Thorkild Jacobsen and Robert M. Adams, "Salt and Silt in Ancient Mesopotamian Agriculture," Science 128 (November 21, 1958), 125158.

Peter Christensen, The Decline of Iranshahr (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1993).

Bernard Lewis, The Middle East (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), 99.

For the threat to water-management systems in recent Middle Eastern wars, see Peter Gleick, "Water and Conflict: Fresh Water Resources and International Security," International Security 18:1 (1993), 79112; Peter Gleick, "Water, War, and Peace in the Middle East," Environment 36:3 (1994), 642.

Peter C. Perdue, China Marches West (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005); Nicholas K. Menzies, Forest and Land Management in Imperial China (London: St. Martin's Press, 1994), 22, 5961.

J. R. McNeill, "China's Environmental History in World Perspective," in Mark Elvin and Liu Ts'ui-jung, eds., Sediments of Time: Environment and Society in Chinese History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 3638, 4647. See also Mark Elvin, The Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004).

See, for example, John A. Lynn, ed., Feeding Mars: Logistics in Western Warfare from the Middle Ages to the Present (Boulder: Westview, 1993).

J. Donald Hughes, "War and the Environment in the Ancient Mediterranean Lands," in Brian Campbell and Lawrence Tritle, eds., Oxford Handbook of Warfare in the Classical World (Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2011; J. R. McNeill, "Woods and Warfare in World History," Environmental History9:3 (July 2004), pp. 388410.

Victor Davis Hanson, A War Like No Other (New York: Random House,


Adrian Goldsworthy, The Punic Wars (London: Cassell, 2000), chap. 8.


Jos Gommens, Mughal Warfare (London: Routledge, chap. 4); Simon Digby, Warhorse and Elephant in the Delhi Sultanate (Oxford: Orient Monographs, 1971); Stewart Gordon, "War, the Military, and the Environment: Central India, 15601820," in Richard P. Tucker and Edmund Russell, eds.,Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward an Environmental History of War (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2004), 4264.

Maurice Keen, Medieval Warfare (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); John Landers, The Field and the Forge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

J. R. McNeill, Mountains of the Mediterranean World: An Environmental History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

Jurgen Brauer and Hubert van Tuyll, Castles, Battles, and Bombs: How Economics Explains Military History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), chap. 2. No environmental history of medieval warfare yet exists, but for context see Scott G. Bruce, ed., Ecologies and Economies in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Leiden: Brill, 2010).

See William H. McNeill, Plagues and Peoples (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1976); Kenneth Kiple, ed., The Cambridge History of Human Disease(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

Clifford J. Rogers, ed., The Military Revolution Debate (Boulder: Westview, 1995). For the crucial Dutch role at sea, see Louis Sicking, Neptune and the Netherlands: State, Economy, and War at Sea in the Renaissance (Leiden: Brill, 2004).

See indicative details in Geoffrey Parker, ed., The Thirty Years War (London: Routledge, 2d ed., 1997). For southern Germany, Paul Warde, Ecology, Economy and State Formation in Early Modern Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). For the Swedish role, Janken Myrdal, "Food, War, and Crisis: The Seventeenth Century Swedish Empire," in Alf Hornborg, et. al., eds., Rethinking Environmental History: World-System History and Global Environmental Change (Lanham: Altamira, 2006), 8999.

Martin van Creveld, Supplying War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977).

William H. McNeill, The Pursuit of Power (Chicago: University of Chicago

Press, 1982).

See the view of the militarized state as predatory, in Charles Tilly, "War Making and State Making as Organized Crime," in Peter B. Evans, et. al., eds.,Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 16991.

Christon I. Archer, et. al., World History of Warfare (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002), chap. 11: "The West Conquers the World."

For a debate among historical anthropologists over the changes in indigenous societies in response to European penetration, see R. Brian Ferguson and Neil L. Whitehead, eds., War in the Tribal Zone (Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 1992).

Robert G. Albion, Forests and Sea Power (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1926); Paul Walden Bamford, Forests and French Sea Power, 1660 1789 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1956); Shawn William Miller, Fruitless Trees: Portuguese Conservation and Brazil's Colonial Timber(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000); Graeme Wynn, Timber Colony: A Historical Geography of Early Nineteenth Century New Brunswick (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981).

The broad patterns are traced in Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1972), and his Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 9001900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). On the demographic collapse in sixteenth-century America, see Kiple, Cambridge World History of Human Disease, 30533, and several authors' chapters in Kenneth F. Kiple and Stephen V. Beck, eds., Biological Consequences of the European Expansion, 14501800 (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 1997).

There are indicative references to these trends in many works, though no one has yet studied the subject systematically. See Carl Sauer, The Early Spanish Main (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966); Elinor Melville, A Plague of Sheep (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Murdo J. MacLeod, Spanish Central America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973); Warren Dean, With Broadax and Firebrand: The Destruction of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).

For elements of this subject, see Maarten Ultee, ed., Adapting to Conditions: War and Society in the Eighteenth Century (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1986).

J. R. McNeill, Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean,

16201914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).


Michael Williams, Americans and Their Forests (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

For the transformations of industrial warfare initiated in those campaigns, see van Creveld, Supplying War, chaps. 23.

For background, see Sidney Mintz, Sweetness and Power (New York: Viking, 1985); for a summary of the process and its environmental impact, see Richard P. Tucker, Insatiable Appetite: The United States and the Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 2536.

Daniel R. Headrick, The Tools of Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981).

Daniel R. Headrick, Power over People: Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).

Roger Levine, "'African War in All Its Ferocity": Changing Military Landscapes and Precolonial and Colonial Conflict in Southern Africa," in Tucker and Russell, Natural Enemy, 6592.

Thaddeus Sunseri, Wielding the Ax: State Forestry and Social Conflict in Tanzania, 18202000 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2009).

See Mark Fiege, "Gettysburg and the Organic Nature of the American Civil War," in Tucker and Russell, Natural Enemy, 93109; Lisa M. Brady, "The Wilderness of War: Nature and Strategy in the American Civil War," Environmental History 10 (July 2005), 42147; Gerald Linderman, Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War (New York: Free Press, 1987), chap. 10: "A Warfare of Terror."

Mark E. Neely, Jr., The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), chap. 5.

For the broad setting, see Geoffrey Wawro, Warfare and Society in Europe, 17921914 (London: Routledge, 2000).

McNeill, Pursuit of Power, chap. 8.


Paul A. C. Koistinen, "The 'Industrial-Military Complex' in Historical Perspective: World War I," Business History Review 41:4 (Winter 1967), 379


Roger Beaumont, War, Chaos and History (Westport: Praeger, 1994), 140.


Edmund Russell, War and Nature: Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

Richard P. Tucker, "The World Wars and the Globalization of Timber Cutting," in Tucker and Russell, Natural Enemy, 11041.

For the broader picture of this disaster, see Micah Muscolino, "Violence Against People and the Land: Refugees and Environment in China's Henan Province, 19381945," forthcoming in The full extent of environmental damage in China by 1945 remains to be measured.

Greg Bankoff, "Wood for War: The Legacy of Human Conflict on the Forests of the Philippines, 15651946," in Charles E. Closmann, ed., War and the Environment: Military Destruction in the Modern Age (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2001), 4142; Tucker, "World Wars," 13235.

Judith A. Bennett, Natives and Exotics (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2009).

See Kurk Dorsey, "Compromising on Conservation: World War II and American Leadership in Whaling Diplomacy," in Tucker and Russell, Natural Enemy, 25269. There was a parallel, and equally temporary, resurgence of the cod population of the north Atlantic during the war, when German submarines prevented the Allies' fishing fleets from operating. Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (New York: Walker & Co., 1997).

William Tsutsui, "Landscapes in a Dark Valley: Toward an Environmental History of Wartime Japan," in Tucker and Russell, Natural Enemy, 195216.

J. R. McNeill and Corinna R. Unger, "Introduction: The Big Picture," in McNeill and Unger, eds., Environmental Histories of the Cold War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 118.

"War and Tropical Forests: Conservation in Areas of Armed Conflict," Journal of Sustainable Forestry 16: 3/4 (2003).

Paul Josephson, "War on Nature as Part of the Cold War: The Strategic and Ideological Roots of Environmental Degradation in the Soviet Union," in McNeill and Unger, Environmental Histories, 2150.


Asit K. Biswas, "Scientific Assessment of the Long-term Environmental Consequences of War," in Jay E. Austin and Carl E. Bruch, eds., The Environmental Consequences of War: Legal, Economic and Scientific Perspectives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 307.See also the earlier works of Arthur H. Westing, including Ecological Consequences of the Second Indochina War (Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell International, 1976), and Herbicides in War: The Long-term Ecological and Human Consequences (London and Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis, 1984).

Mark D. Merlin and Ricardo M. Gonzales, "Environmental Impacts of Nuclear Testing in Remote Oceania, 19461996," in McNeill and Unger,Environmental Histories, 167202; Stewart Firth, Nuclear Playground (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987); Bengt and Marie-Therese Danielssohn,Poisoned Reign: French Nuclear Colonialism in the Pacific (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1986).

Murray Feshbach and Alfred Friendly, Ecocide in the USSR (New York: Basic Books, 1992); Ze'ev Wolfson [Boris Komarov], The Geography of Survival: Ecology in the Post-Soviet Era (Armonk: M. E. Sharpe, 1994).

Samira A. S. Omar et. al., "The Gulf War Impact on the Terrestrial Environment of Kuwait: An Overview," in Austin and Bruch, Environmental Consequences, 31637.

Curtis J. Richardson and Najah A. Hussain, "Restoring the Garden of Eden: An Ecological Assessment of the Marshes of Iraq," Bioscience 56:6 (June 2006), 47780.
The impact of war on the environment and human health
Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary. 1992 Rio Declaration The application of weapons, the destruction of structures and oil fields, fires, military transport movements and chemical spraying are all examples of the destroying impact war may have on the environment. Air, water and soil are polluted, man and animal are killed, and numerous health affects occur among those still living. This page is about the environmental effects of wars and incidents leading to war that have occurred in the 20th and 21st century. Timeline of wars* Africa America Asia Europe Click on a bar to read about environmental effects in a specific time period

*Timeline edited by JavaJasper Africa My hands are tied The billions shift from side to side And the wars go on with brainwashed pride For the love of God and our human rights And all these things are swept aside By bloody hands time can't deny And are washed away by your genocide And history hides the lies of our civil wars Guns n Roses (Civil War) In Africa many civil wars and wars between countries occurred in the past century, some of which are still continuing. Most wars are a result of the liberation of countries after decades of colonialization. Countries fight over artificial borders drawn by former colonial rulers. Wars mainly occur in densely populated regions, over the division of scarce resources such as fertile farmland. It is very hard to estimate the exact environmental impact of each of these wars. Here, a summary of some of the most striking environmental effects, including biodiversity loss, famine, sanitation problems at refugee camps and over fishing is given for different countries. Congo war (II) Since August 1998 a civil war is fought in former Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The war eventually ended in 2003 when a Transitional Government took power. A number of reasons are given for the conflict, including access and control of water resources and rich minerals and political agendas. Currently over 3 million people have died in the war, mostly from disease and starvation. More than 2 million people have become refugees. Only 45% of the people had access to safe drinking water. Many women were raped as a tool of intimidation, resulting in a rapid spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV-AIDS. The war has a devastating effect on the environment. National parks housing endangered species are often affected for exploitation of minerals and other resources. Refugees hunt wildlife for bush meat, either to consume or sell it. Elephant populations in Africa have seriously declined as a result of ivory poaching. Farmers burn parts of the forest to apply as farmland, and corporate logging contributes to the access of poachers to bush meat. A survey by the WWF showed that the hippopotamus population in one national park decreased from 29,000 thirty years previously, to only 900 in 2005. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed all five parks as world heritage in danger. Ethiopia & Eritrea Before 1952, Eritrea was a colony of Italy. When it was liberated, Ethiopia annexed the country. Thirty years of war over the liberation of Eritrea followed, starting in 1961 and eventually ending with the independence of Eritrea in 1993. However, war commenced a year after the country introduced its own currency in 1997. Over a minor border dispute, differences in ethnicity and economic progress, Ethiopia again attacked Eritrea. The war lasted until June 2000 and resulted in the death of over 150,000 Eritrean, and of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians. During the war severe drought resulted in famine, particularly because most government funds were spend on weapons and other war instrumentation. The government estimated that after the war only 60% of the country received adequate food supplies. The war resulted in over 750,000 refugees. It basically destroyed the entire infrastructure. Efforts to disrupt agricultural production in Eritrea resulted in changes in habitat. The placing of landmines has caused farming or herding to be very dangerous in most parts of the country. If floods occur landmines may be washed into cities. This has occurred earlier in Mozambique.

Rwanda civil war - Between April and July 1994 extremist military Hutu groups murdered about 80,000-1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda. Over 2,000,000 people lost their homes and became refugees. Rwanda has a very rich environment, however, it has a particularly limited resource base. About 95% of the population lives on the countryside and relies on agriculture. Some scientists believe that competition for scarce land and resources led to violence prior to and particularly after the 1994 genocide. It is however stated that resource scarcity only contributed limitedly to the conflict under discussion. The main cause of the genocide was the death of the president from a planecrash caused by missiles fires from a camp. The many refugees from the 1994 combat caused a biodiversity problem. When they returned to the already overpopulated country after the war, they inhabited forest reserves in the mountains where endangered gorillas lived. Conservation of gorilla populations was no longer effective, and refuges destroyed part of the habitat. Despite the difficulties still present in Rwanda particularly concerning security and resource provision, an international gorilla protection group is now working on better conditions for the gorillas in Rwanda. Somalia civil war A civil war was fought in Somalia 1991. One of the most striking effects of the war was over fishing. The International Red Cross was encouraging the consumption of seawater fish to improve diets of civilians. For self-sufficiency they provided training and fishing equipment. However, as a consequence of war Somali people ignored international fishing protocols, thereby seriously harming ecology in the region. Fishing soon became an unsustainable practise, and fishermen are hard to stop because they started carrying arms. They perceive over fishing as a property right and can therefore hardly be stopped. Sudan (Darfur & Chad) In Sudan civil war and extreme droughts caused a widespread famine, beginning in 1983. Productive farmland in the southern region was abandoned during the war. Thousands of people became refugees that left behind their land, possibly never to return. Attempts of remaining farmers to cultivate new land to grow crops despite the drought led to desertification and soil erosion. The government failed to act for fear of losing its administrative image abroad, causing the famine to kill an estimated 95,000 of the total 3,1 million residents of the province Darfur. As farmers started claiming more and more land, routes applied by herders were closed off. This resulted in conflicts between farmers and rebels groups. In 2003, a conflict was fought in Darfur between Arab Sudanese farmers and non-Arab Muslims. The Muslim group is called Janjaweed, a tribe mainly consisting of nomadic sheep and cattle herders. Originally the Janjaweed were part of the Sudanese and Darfurian militia, and were armed by the Sudanese government to counter rebellion. However, they started utilizing the weapons against non-Muslim civilians. The tribe became notorious for massacre in 2003-2004. In December 2005 the conflict continued across the border, now involving governmental army troops from Chad, and the rebel groups Janjaweed and United Front for Democratic Change from Sudan. In February 2006 the governments of Chad and Sudan signed a peace treaty called the Tripoli Agreement. Unfortunately a new rebel assault of the capital of Chad in April made Chad break all ties with Sudan. The Darfur Conflict so far caused the death of between 50,000 and 450,000 civilians. It caused over 45,000 people to flea the countries of Sudan and Central Africa, into north and east Chad. Most refugees claim they fled civilian attacks from rebel forces, looting food and recruiting young men to join their troops. America Pearl Harbor (WWII) When World War II began, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Consequentially, the United States closed the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping, and initiated a complete oil embargo. Japan, being dependent on US oil, responded to the embargo violently. On December 1941, Japanese troops carried out a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, aimed at the US Navy stationed there. Despite the awareness that Japan might attack, the US was surprisingly unprepared for the Japanese aggression. There were

no aircraft patrols, and anti-aircraft weapons were not manned. For the attack five Japanese submarines were present in the harbor to launch torpedos. One was discovered immediately, and attacked by the USS Ward. All five submarines sank, and at least three of them have not been located since. As Japanese bombers arrived they began firing at US marine airbases across Hawaii, and subsequently battle ships in Pearl Harbor. Eighteen ships sank, including five battleships, and a total of more than 2,000 Americans were killed in action. The explosion of the USS Arizona caused half of the casualties. The ship was hit by a bomb, burned for two days in a row, and subsequently sank to the bottom. The cloud of black smoke over the boat was mainly caused by burning black powder from the magazine for aircraft catapults aboard the ship. Leaking fuel from the Arizona and other ships caught fire, and caused more ships to catch fire. Of the 350 Japanese planes taking part in the attack, 29 were lost. Over sixty Japanese were killed in actions, most of them airmen. Today, three battle ships are still at the bottom of the harbor. Four others were raised and reused. The USS Arizona, being the most heavily damaged ship during the attack, continues to leak oil from the hulk into the harbor. However, the wreck is maintained, because it now serves as part of a war memorial. World Trade Centre explosion - The so-called War on Terrorism the United States are fighting in Asia currently all started with the event we recall so well from the shocking images projected on news bulletins. On September 11, 2001, terrorists flew airplanes into the buildings of the World Trade Centre. It is now claimed that the attack and simultaneous collapse of the Twin Towers caused a serious and acute environmental disaster. "We will live in the death smog for a while, breathing the dust of the dead, the 3 thousand or so who turn to smoke, as the giant ashtray in Lower Manhattan continues to give up ghosts. The dead are in us now, locked in our chests, staining our lungs, polluting our bloodstreams. And though we cover our faces with flags and other pieces of cloth to filter the air, the spirits of the dead arent fooled by our masks." Lawrence Swan, 05-10-2001 As the planes hit the Twin Towers more than 90.000 litres of jet fuel burned at temperatures above 1000oC. An atmospheric plume formed, consisting of toxic materials such as metals, furans, asbestos, dioxins, PAH, PCB and hydrochloric acid. Most of the materials were fibres from the structure of the building. Asbestos levels ranged from 0.8-3.0% of the total mass. PAH comprised more than 0.1% of the total mass, and PCBs less than 0.001% of total mass. At the site now called Ground Zero, a large pile of smoking rubble burned intermittently for more than 3 months. Gaseous and particulate particles kept forming long after the towers had collapsed.

Aerial photograph of the plume The day of the attacks dust particles of various sizes spread over lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, for many miles. Fire fighters and medics working at the WTC were exposed, but also men and women on the streets and in nearby buildings, and children in nearby schools. In vivo inhalation studies and epidemiological studies pointed out the impact of the dust cloud. Health effects from inhaling dust included bronchial hyper reactivity, because of the high alkalinity of dust particles. Other possible health effects include coughs, an increased risk of asthma and a two-fold increase in the number of small-for-gestational-age babys among pregnant women present in or nearby the Twin Towers at the time of the attack. After September, airborne pollutant concentrations in nearby communities declined. Many people present at the WTC at the time of the attacks are still checked regularly, because long-term effects may eventually show. It is thought there may be an increased risk of development of mesothelioma, consequential to exposure to asbestos. This is a disease where malignant cells develop in the protective cover of the bodys organs. Airborne dioxins in the days and weeks after the attack may increase the risk of cancer and diabetes. Infants of women that were pregnant on September 11 and had been in the vicinity of the WTC at the time of the attack are also checked for growth or developmental problems. Asia Afghanistan war In October 2001, the United States attacked Afghanistan as a starting chapter of the War on terrorism, which still continues today. The ultimate goal was to replace the Taliban government, and to find apparent 9/11 mastermind and Al-Qaeda member Osama Bin Laden. Many European countries assisted the US in what was called Operation Enduring Freedom. During the war, extensive damage was done to the environment, and many people suffered health effects from weapons applied to destroy enemy targets. It is estimated that ten thousand villages, and their surrounding environments were destroyed. Safe drinking water declined, because of a destruction of water infrastructure and resulting leaks, bacterial contamination and water theft. Rivers and groundwater were contaminated by poorly constructed landfills located near the sources. Afghanistan once consisted of major forests watered by monsoons. During the war, Taliban members illegally trading timber in Pakistan destroyed much of the forest cover. US bombings and refugees in need of firewood destroyed much of what remained. Less than 2% of the country still contains a forest cover today. Bombs threaten much of the countrys wildlife. One the worlds important migratory thoroughfare leads through Afghanistan. The number of birds now flying this route has dropped by 85%. In the mountains many large animals such as leopards found refuge, but much of the habitat is applied as refuge for military forces now. Additionally, refugees capture leopards and other large animals

are and trade them for safe passage across the border. Pollution from application of explosives entered air, soil and water. One example is cyclonite, a toxic substance that may cause cancer. Rocket propellants deposited perchlorates, which damage the thyroid gland. Numerous landmines left behind in Afghan soils still cause the deaths of men, women and children today. Cambodia civil war In 1966 the Prince of Cambodia began to lose the faith of many for failure to come to grips with the deteriorating economic situation. In 1967 rebellion started in a wealthy province where many large landowners lives. Villagers began attacking the tax collection brigade, because taxes were invested in building large factories, causing land to be taken. This led to a bloody civil war. Before the conflict could be repressed 10,000 people had died. The rebellion caused the up rise of the Khmer Rouge, a Maoist-extremist organization that wanted to introduce communism in the country. In 1975 the organization, led by Pol Pot, officially seized power in Cambodia. The Khmer considered farmers (proletarians) to be the working class, as did Mao in China earlier. Schools, hospitals and banks were closed, the country was isolated from all foreign influence, and people were moved to the countryside for forced labor. People were obligated to work up to 12 hours a day, growing three times as many crops, as was usually the case. Many people died there from exhaustion, illness and starvation, or where shot by the Khmer on what was known as The Killing Fields. The Khmer Rouge regime resulted in deforestation, caused by extensive timber logging to finance war efforts, agricultural clearance, construction, logging concessions and collection of wood fuels. A total 35% of the Cambodian forest cover was lost under the Maoist regime. Deforestation resulted in severe floods, damaging rice crops and causing food shortages. In 1993, a ban on logging exports was introduced to prevent further flooding damage. In 1979 the Khmer Rouge regime ended with an invasion by Vietnam, and the installation of a proVietnamese puppet government. Subsequently, Thai and Chinese forces attempted to liberate the country from Vietnamese dominance. Many landmines were placed in the 1980s, and are still present in the countryside. They deny agricultural use of the land where they are placed. In 1992 free elections were introduced, but the Khmer Rouge resumed fighting. Eventually, half of the Khmer soldiers left in 1996, and many officials were captured. Under the Khmer regime, a total of 1.7 million people died, and the Khmer was directly responsible for about 750,000 of those casualties. Hiroshima & Nagasaki nuclear explosions Atomic bombs are based on the principle of nuclear fission, which was discovered in Nazi Germany in 1938 by two radio chemists. During the process, atoms are split and energy is released in the form of heat. Controlled reactions are applied in nuclear power plants for production of electricity, whereas unchecked reactions occur during nuclear bombings. The invention in Germany alarmed people in the United States, because the Nazis in possession of atomics bombs would be much more dangerous than they already where. When America became involved in WWII, the development of atomic bombs started there in what was called the Manhattan Project. In July 1945 an atomic bomb was tested in the New Mexico desert. The tests were considered a success, and America was now in possession of one of the worlds deadliest weapons. In 1945, at the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, nuclear weapons were applied to kill for the first time in Japan. On August 6, a uranium bomb by the name of Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima, followed by a plutonium bomb by the name of Fat Man on Nagasaki on August 9. The reason Hiroshima was picked was that it was a major military centre. The bomb detonated at 8.15 p.m. over a Japanese Army parade field, where soldiers were already present. Nagasaki was picked because it was an industrial centre. The bomb, which was much larger than that used on Hiroshima, exploded at 11.02 a.m. at an industrial site. However, the hills on and the geographical location of the bombing site caused the eventual impact to be

smaller than days earlier in Hiroshima. The first impact of the atomic bombings was a blinding light, accompanied by a giant wave of heat. Dry flammable materials caught fire, and all men and animals within half a mile from the explosion sites died instantly. Many structures collapsed, in Nagasaki even the structures designed to survive earthquakes were blasted away. Many water lines broke. Fires could not be extinguished because of the water shortage, and six weeks after the blast the city still suffered from a lack of water. In Hiroshima a number of small fires combined with wind formed a firestorm, killing those who did not die before but were left immobile for some reason. Within days after the blasts, radiation sickness started rearing its ugly head, and many more people would die from it within the next 5 years. The total estimated death toll: In Hiroshima 100,000 were killed instantly, and between 100,000 and 200,000 died eventually. In Nagasaki about 40,000 were killed instantly, and between 70,000 and 150,000 died eventually. The events of August 6 and August 9 can be translated into environmental effects more literally. The blasts caused air pollution from dust particles and radioactive debris flying around, and from the fires burning everywhere. Many plants and animals were killed in the blast, or died moments to months later from radioactive precipitation. Radioactive sand clogged wells used for drinking water winning, thereby causing a drinking water problem that could not easily be solved. Surface water sources were polluted, particularly by radioactive waste. Agricultural production was damaged; dead stalks of rice could be found up to seven miles from ground zero. In Hiroshima the impact of the bombing was noticeable within a 10 km radius around the city, and in Nagasaki within a 1 km radius. Iraq & Kuwait The Gulf War was fought between Iraq, Kuwait and a number of western countries in 1991. Kuwait had been part of Iraq in the past, but was liberated by British imperialism, as the Iraqi government described it. In August 1990, Iraqi forces claimed that the country was illegally extracting oil from Iraqi territory, and attacked. The United Nations attempted to liberate Kuwait. Starting January 1991, Operation Desert Storm began, with the purpose of destroying Iraqi air force and anti-aircraft facilities, and command and control facilities. The battle was fought in Iraq, Kuwait and the Saudi-Arabian border region. Both aerial and ground artillery was applied. Late January, Iraqi aircraft were flown to Iran, and Iraqi forces began to flee. The Gulf War was one of the most environmentally devastating wars ever fought. Iraq dumped approximately one million tons of crude oil into the Persian Gulf, thereby causing the largest oil spill in history (see environmental disasters). Approximately 25,000 migratory birds were killed. The impact on marine life was not as severe as expected, because warm water sped up the natural breakdown of oil. Local prawn fisheries did experience problems after the war. Crude oil was also spilled into the desert, forming oil lakes covering 50 square kilometres. In due time the oil percolated into groundwater aquifers. Fleeing Iraqi troops ignited Kuwaiti oil sources, releasing half a ton of air pollutants into the atmosphere. Environmental problems caused by the oil fires include smog formation and acid rain. Toxic fumes originating from the burning oil wells compromised human health, and threatened wildlife. A soot layer was deposited on the desert, covering plants, and thereby preventing them from breathing. Seawater was applied to extinguish the oil fires, resulting in increased salinity in areas close to oil wells. It took about nine months to extinguish the fires. During the war, many dams and sewage water treatment plants were targeted and destroyed. A lack of possibilities for water treatment resulting from the attacks caused sewage to flow directly into the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Additionally, pollutants seeped from bombed chemical plants into the rivers. Drinking water extracted from the river was polluted, resulting in widespread disease. For example, cases of typhoid fever have increased tenfold since 1991.

Movement of heavy machinery such as tanks through the desert damaged the brittle surface, causing soil erosion. Sand was uncovered that formed gradually moving sand dunes. These dunes may one day cause problems for Kuwait City. Tanks fired Depleted Uranium (DU) missiles, which can puncture heavy artillery structures. DU is a heavy metal that causes kidney damage and is suspected to be teratogenic and carcinogenic. Post-Gulf War reports state an increase in birth defects for children born to veterans. The impact of Depleted Uranium could not be thoroughly investigated after the Gulf War, because Saddam Hussein refused to cooperate. Its true properties were revealed after the Kosovo War in 2001 (description below). DU has now been identified as a neurotoxin, and birth defects and cancers are attributed to other chemical and nerve agents. However, it is stated that DU oxides deposited in the lungs of veterans have not been thoroughly researched yet. It was later found that this may cause kidney and lung infections for highly exposed persons. After the Gulf War many veterans suffered from a condition now known as the Gulf War Syndrome. The causes of the illness are subject to widespread speculation. Examples of possible causes are exposure to DU (see above), chemical weapons (nerve gas and mustard gas), an anthrax vaccine given to 41% of US soldiers and 60-75% of UK soldiers, smoke from burning oil wells and parasites. Symptoms of the GWS included chronic fatigue, muscle problems, diarrhoea, migraine, memory loss, skin problems and shortness of breath. Many Gulf War veterans have died of illnesses such as brain cancer, now acknowledged as potentially connected to service during the war. Iraq & the United States The war in Iraq started by the United States in 2003 as part of the War on Terrorism causes poverty, resulting in environmental problems. Long-term environmental effects of the war remain unclear, but short-term problems have been identified for every environmental compartment. For example, some weapons are applied that may be extremely damaging to the environment, such as white phosphorus ammunition. People around the world protest the application of such armoury. Water Damage to sanitation structures by frequent bombing, and damage to sewage treatment systems by power blackouts cause pollution of the River Tigris. Two hundred blue plastic containers containing uranium were stolen from a nuclear power plant located south of Baghdad. The radioactive content of the barrels was dumped in rivers and the barrels were rinsed out. Poor people applied the containers as storage facility for water, oil and tomatoes, or sold them to others. Milk was transported to other regions in the barrels, making it almost impossible to relocate them. Air Oil trenches are burning, as was the case in the Gulf War of 1991, resulting in air pollution. In Northern Iraq, a sulphur plant burned for one month, contributing to air pollution. As fires continue burning, groundwater applied as a drinking water source may be polluted. Soil Military movements and weapon application result in land degradation. The destruction of military and industrial machinery releases heavy metals and other harmful substances. Read more on restoring water systems in Iraq Israel & Lebanon In July 2006, Hezbollah initiated a rocket attack on Israeli borders. A ground patrol killed and captured Israeli soldiers. This resulted in open war between Israel and Lebanon. The war caused environmental problems as Israelis bombed a power station south of Beirut. Damaged storage tanks leaked an estimated 20,000 tons of oil into the Mediterranean Sea. The oil spill spread rapidly, covering over 90 km of the coastline, killing fish and affecting the habitat of the endangered green sea turtle. A sludge layer covers Beaches across Lebanon, and the same problem may occur in Syria as the spill continues to spread. Part of the oil spill burned, causing widespread air pollution. Smog affects the health of people living in the city of Beirut. So far problems limiting the clean-up operation of oil spills have

occurred, because of ongoing violence in the region. Another major problem were forest fires in Northern Israel caused by Hezbollah bombings. A total of 9,000 acres of forest burned to the ground, and fires threaten tree reserves and bird sanctuaries. Russia & Chechnya In 1994 the First Chechen War of independence started, between Russian troops, Chechen guerrilla fighters and civilians. Chechnya has been a province of Russia for a very long time and now desires independence. The First War ended in 1996, but in 1999 Russia again attacked Chechnya for purposes of oil distribution. The war between the country and its province continues today. It has devastating effects on the region of Chechnya. An estimated 30% of Chechen territory is contaminated, and 40% of the territory does not meet environmental standards for life. Major environmental problems include radioactive waste and radiation, oil leaks into the ground from bombarded plants and refineries, and pollution of soil and surface water. Russia has buried radioactive waste in Chechnya. Radiation at some sites is ten times its normal level. Radiation risks increase as Russia bombs the locations, particularly because after 1999 the severeness of weaponry increased. A major part of agricultural land is polluted to the extent that it can no longer meet food supplies. This was mainly caused by unprofessional mini-refineries of oil poachers in their backyards, not meeting official standards and causing over 50% of the product to be lost as waste. Groundwater pollution flows into the rivers Sunzha and Terek on a daily basis. On some locations the rivers are totally devoid of fish. Flora and fauna are destroyed by oil leaks and bombings. Vietnam war The Vietnam War started in 1945 and ended in 1975. It is now entitled a proxy war, fought during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union to prevent the necessity for the nations to fight each other directly. North Vietnam fought side by side with the Soviet Union and China, and South Vietnam with the United States, New Zealand and South Korea. It must be noted that the United States only started to be actively involved in the battle after 1963. Between 1965 and 1968 North Vietnam was bombed under Operation Rolling Thunder, in order to force the enemy to negotiate. Bombs destroyed over two million acres of land. North Vietnam forces began to strike back, and the Soviet Union delivered anti-aircraft missiles to North Vietnam. The ground war of US troops against the Viet Cong began. The United States would not retreat from Vietnam until 1973, and during those years extremely environmentally damaging weapons and war tactics were applied. A massive herbicidal programme was carried out, in order to break the forest cover sheltering Viet Cong guerrillas, and deprive Vietnamese peasants of food. The spraying destroyed 14% of Vietnams forests, diminished agricultural yield, and made seeds unfit for replanting. If agricultural yield was not damaged by herbicides, it was often lost because military on the ground set fire to haystacks, and soaked land with aviation fuel en burned it. A total of 15,000 square kilometres of land were eventually destroyed. Livestock was often shot, to deprive peasant of their entire food supply. A total of 13,000 livestock were killed during the war. The application of 72 million litres of chemical spray resulted in the death of many animals, and caused health effects with humans. One chemical that was applied between 1962 and 1971, called Agent Orange, was particularly harmful. Its main constituent is dioxin, which was present in soil, water and vegetation during and after the war. Dioxin is carcinogenic and teratogenic, and has resulted in spontaneous abortions, chloracne, skin and lung cancers, lower intelligence and emotional problems among children. Children fathered by men exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War often have congenital abnormalities. An estimated half a million children were born with dioxin-related abnormalities. Agent Orange continues to threaten the health of the Vietnamese today. "Drafted to go to Vietnam To fight communism in a foreign land. To preserve democracy is my plight Which is a God...Given...Right. Greenery so thick with hidden enemies Agent Orange is sprayed on the trees.

Covering me from head to toe Irate my eyes, burns through my clothes. Returned home when my tour was done To be told "You have cancer, son". Agent Orange is to blame Government caused your suffering and pain. Fight for compensation is frustrating and slow Brass cover-up, not wanting anyone to know. From cancer many comrades have died Medical Insurance have been denied. Compensation I now receive My health I hope to retrieve. In Vietnam , I was spared my life Just to be stabbed with an Agent Orange knife" Yvonne Legge, 2001 Today, agriculture in Vietnam continues to suffer problems from six million unexploded bombs still present. Several organisations are attempting to remove these bombs. Landmines left in Vietnam are not removed, because the Vietnamese government refuses to accept responsibility. Europe Kosovo war The Kosovo war can be divided up in two separate parts: a conflict between Serbia and Kosovo, and a conflict between Kosovo and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The first conflict originated in 1996 from the statement of Slobodan Milocevic that Kosovo was to remain a part of Serbia, and from the resulting violent response of Albanian residents. When Serbian troops slaughtered 45 Albanians in the village of Racak in Kosovo in 1999, the NATO intervened. NATO launched a 4-month bombing campaign upon Serbia as a reply to the massacre at Racak. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) investigated the environmental impact of the Kosovo war. It was concluded that the war did not result in an environmental disaster affecting the entire Balkan region. Nevertheless, some environmental hot spots were identified, namely Belgrade, Pancevo, Kragujevac, Novi Sad and Bor. Bombings carried out by the United States resulted in leakages in oil refineries and oil storage depots. Industrial sites containing other industries were also targeted. EDC (1,2-dichloroethane), PCBs en mercury escaped to the environment. Burning of Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) resulted in the formation of dioxin, hydrochloric acid, carbon monoxide and PAHs, and oil burning released sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead and PAHs into the air. Heavy clouds of black smoke forming over burning industrial targets caused black rain to fall on the area around Pancevo. Some damage was done to National Parks in Serbia by bombings, and therefore to biodiversity. EDC, mercury and petroleum products (e.g. PCBs) polluted the Danube River. These are present in the sediments and may resurface in due time. EDC is toxic to both terrestrial and aquatic life. Mercury may be converted into methyl mercury, which is very toxic and bio accumulates. As a measure to prevent the consequences of bombing, a fertilizer plant in Pancevo released liquid ammonia into the Danube River. This caused fish kills up to 30 kilometres downstream. In 1999 when NATO bombed Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, the resulting environmental damage was enormous. Petrochemical plants in suburbs started leaking all kinds of hazardous chemicals into air, water and soil. Factories producing ammonia and plastics released chlorine, hydrochloric acid, vinyl chloride and other chlorine substances, resulting in local air pollution and health problems. Water sources were polluted by oil leaking from refineries. The Danube River was polluted by oil more severely, but this time hydrochloric acid and mercury compounds also ended up there. These remained in the water for a considering period of time and consequently ended up in neighbouring countries Rumania and Bulgaria. Clean drinking water supplies and waste treatment plants were damaged by NATO bombings. Many people fled their houses and were moved to refugee camps, where the number of people grew rapidly. A lack of clean drinking water and sanitation problems occurred.

Like in the Gulf War, Depleted Uranium (DU) was applied in the Kosovo War to puncture tanks and other artillery. After the war, the United Kingdom assisted in the removal of DU residues from the environment. Veterans complained of health effects. It was acknowledged by the UK and the US that dusts from DU can be dangerous if inhaled. Inhalation of dust most likely results in chemical poisoning. World War I: Trench Warfare In 1914, the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary resulted in the First World War, otherwise known as The Great War, or WWI. It started with Austria-Hungary invading Serbia, where the assassin came from, and Germany invading Belgium. The war was mostly in Europe, between the Allies and the Central Powers. Allies: France, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro, Rumania, Albania, Greece, Portugal, Finland, United States, Canada, Brazil, Armenia, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Liberia, China, Japan, Thailand, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama Central Powers: Austria-Hungary, Germany, Turkish Empire, and Bulgaria The war was fought from trenches, dug from the North Sea to the border of Switzerland. In 1918 when the war was over, empires disintegrated into smaller countries, marking the division of Europe today. Over 9 million people had died, most of which perished from influenza after the outbreak of the Spanish Flu (see environmental disasters). The war did not directly cause the influenza outbreak, but it was amplified. Mass movement of troops and close quarters caused the Spanish Flu to spread quickly. Furthermore, stresses of war may have increased the susceptibility of soldiers to the disease. In terms of environmental impact, World War I was most damaging, because of landscape changes caused by trench warfare. Digging trenches caused trampling of grassland, crushing of plants and animals, and churning of soil. Erosion resulted from forest logging to expand the network of trenches. Soil structures were altered severely, and if the war was never fought, in all likelihood the landscape would have looked very differently today. Another damaging impact was the application of poison gas. Gases were spread throughout the trenches to kill soldiers of the opposite front. Examples of gases applied during WWI are tear gas (aerosols causing eye irritation), mustard gas (cell toxic gas causing blistering and bleeding), and carbonyl chloride (carcinogenic gas). The gases caused a total of 100,000 deaths, most caused by carbonyl chloride (phosgene). Battlefields were polluted, and most of the gas evaporates into the atmosphere. After the war, unexploded ammunition caused major problems in former battle areas. Environmental legislation prohibits detonation or dumping chemical weapons at sea, therefore the cleanup was and still remains a costly operation. In 1925, most WWI participants signed a treaty banning the application of gaseous chemical weapons. Chemical disarmament plants are planned in France and Belgium. World War II: Gas Chambers World War II was a worldwide conflict, fought between the Allies (Britain, France and the United States as its core countries) and the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan as its core countries). It started with the German invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1939, and ended with the liberation of Western Europe by the allies in 1945. Between 1941 and 1945, over 1 million people were killed in the gas chambers of the extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Nazi Germany. Over 90% of the victims were Jews, and the other 10% consisted of Poles, Soviet prisoners of war and gypsies. The substance applied was Zyklon-B, a cyanide-based insecticide that is lethal to humans in large doses. It was stored as crystals in closed containers, but when exposed to air it released the lethal hydrogen cyanide gas (HCN). As Zyklon-B was poured into the gas chambers through small openings, it took only 10-15 minutes to kill all people inside. The insecticide was supplied to Nazi Germany by two firms, Tesch-Stabenow and Degesh. After the war the firms claimed they were unaware of the application of the product to kill people in large numbers. However, it was later stated that the company had to have known, because they supplied enough substance to kill 2 million people, and additionally gave some advise on how to use the ventilating and heating equipment.

World War II: Hunger winter In late 1944, the allied troops attempted to liberate Western Europe. As they reached The Netherlands, German resistance caused the liberation to be halted in Arnhem, as allied troops failed to occupy a bridge over the River Rhine. As the Dutch government in exile in Britain called for railway strikes, the Germans responded by putting embargo on food transport to the west. This resulted in what is now known as the Hunger Winter, causing an estimated 20,000-25,000 Dutch to starve to death. A number of factors caused the starvation: a harsh winter, fuel shortages, the ruin of agricultural land by bombings, floods, and the food transport embargo. Most people in the west lived off tulip bulbs and sugar beet. Official food rations were below 1000 cal per person per day. In May 1945 the Hunger Winter ended with the official liberation of the west of The Netherlands. Sources Books and articles Central Asia Caucasus Institute, 2006, Environmental ramifications of the Russian war on Chechnya, Johns Hopkins University, Cousin T.L., 2005, Case study: Eritrean and Ethiopian Civil War, ICE Case Studies No 2, Landrigan P.J., Lioy P.J., Thurston G., Berkowitz G., Chen L.C., Chillrud S.N., Gavett S.H., Georgopoulos P.G., Geyh A.S., Levin S., Perera F., Rappaport S.M., Small C., 2004, Health and Environmental Consequences of the World Trade Center Disaster, Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 112, No 6 Lioy P.J., Weisel C.P., Millette J.R., Eisenreich S., Vallero D., Offenberg J., 2002, Characterization of the dust/smoke aerosol that settled east of the World Trade Center (WTC) in Lower Manhattan after the collapse of the WTC 11 September 2001, Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 110, page 703-714 Mannion A.M., 2003, The Environmental Impact of War and Terrorism, Geographical paper No 169, Department of Geography, University of Reading, Whiteknights, UK Pearce F., 2004, From Vietnam to Rwanda: wars chain reaction, The New Scientist, Percival V., Homer-Dixon T., 1995, Environmental Scarcity and Violent Conflict: The Case of Rwanda, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the University of Toronto Suliman M., 2006, Civil War in Sudan: The impact of ecological degradation, Environment and Conflicts Project, University of Pennsylvania, United Nations Environment Programme, 1991, The Kosovo conflict Consequences for the environment and human settlements, UNEP and UNCHS, United States, United Nations Environment Programme, 2003, Afghanistan: Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment, Switzerland, Victorian Peace Network, 2005, Hiroshima and Nagasaki Nuclear Fact Sheet, World Health Organization, 2003, Depleted Uranium Fact sheet,

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The United Nations Compensation Commission is a subsidiary organ of the United Nations Security Council. It was established by the Council in 1991 to process claims and pay compensation for losses resulting from Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Compensation is payable to successful claimants from a special fund that receives a percentage of the proceeds from sales of Iraqi oil. The Security Council established Iraq's legal responsibility for such losses in its resolution 687 of 3 April 1991:

" liable under international law for any direct loss, damage, including environmental damage and the depletion of natural resources, or injury to foreign Governments, nationals and corporations, as a result of Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait".

Resolution 687 (1991) was adopted five weeks after the suspension of the Allied Coalition forces' operations against Iraq. It was adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, which concerns action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression. A formal cease-fire between Iraq and the Allied Coalition forces was made dependent upon Iraq's acceptance of all of the provisions of the resolution. The provisions relating to compensation are in section E of resolution 687 (1991), wherein the Security Council created a fund to pay compensation for losses, damage and injury resulting directly from Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait, and directed the Secretary-General to develop and present to the Security Council recommendations for setting up the fund as well as a commission to administer it. The SecretaryGeneral was also directed to recommend mechanisms for determining the appropriate level of Iraq's contribution to the fund, taking into account the requirements of the people of Iraq, Iraq's payment capacity and the needs of the Iraqi economy. Three days after the adoption of resolution 687 (1991), Iraq, in a letter to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council, accepted the terms of the resolution, thereby accepting legal responsibility for damage directly caused to Governments, individuals and corporations by its invasion and occupation of Kuwait. On 2 May 1991, the SecretaryGeneral presented to the Security Council his report on the compensation provisions of the resolution S/22559. The Secretary-General recommended that the proposed Compensation Commission take the form of a claims resolution facility that would verify and value the massive number of expected claims and administer the payment of compensation. The nature of the Commission would therefore be unique in the history of international

efforts at post-war resolution. As the Secretary-General stated in his report:

"the Commission is not a court or an arbitral tribunal before which the parties appear; it is a political organ that performs an essentially fact-finding function of examining claims, verifying their validity, evaluating losses, assessing payments and resolving disputed claims; it is only in this last respect that a quasi-judicial function may be involved."

The Secretary-General recommended that the Commission should function under the authority of the Security Council and that it should be comprised of a Governing Council, panels of Commissioners and a secretariat. On 20 May 1991, the Security Council adopted resolution 692 (1991), by which it established the UN Compensation Commission and the UN Compensation Fund in accordance with Part I of the Secretary-General's report, and decided to locate the Commission at the United Nations Office in Geneva. On 30 May 1991, in a note to the Security Council S/22661, the SecretaryGeneral recommended that compensation to be paid by Iraq, through the Fund, should not exceed thirty per cent of the value of its exports of petroleum and petroleum products. In resolution 705 , adopted on 15 August 1991, the Security Council decided to accept the SecretaryGeneral's recommendation. On the same day, the Security Council adopted resolution 706 (1991), which authorised the import by Member States of oil products originating from Iraq for a six-month period, up to a value of US$1.6 billion, in order to finance the United Nations operations mandated by resolution 687 (1991), including the UN Compensation Commission. Iraq, however, failed to take advantage of the resolution and ad hoc arrangements became necessary to ensure that the Commission could carry forward its work. These arrangements provided for the Commission's access to an amount advanced from the Working Capital Fund of the United Nations, to reimbursable voluntary contributions from Governments prior to and in accordance with resolution 778 (1992) and to the proceeds of Iraqi oil sold after the invasion of Kuwait that had since been frozen by various Governments. Early in 1995, new attempts were made to persuade Iraq to accept a scheme that would allow it to sell oil for humanitarian purposes. On 14 April of that year, the Security Council adopted resolution 986 that provided for thirty per cent of the proceeds of such sales to be allocated to the Compensation Fund. However, it was to be twenty months before the scheme came into effect during which time the Commission operated with restricted financing. Ultimately, however, in December 1996, the "oil-for-

food" scheme envisaged in resolution 986 (1995) was finally launched and the Commission began to receive thirty per cent of the proceeds of Iraq's oil sales (reduced to 25 per cent pursuant to Security Councilresolution 1330 (2000)) thereby permitting the Commission to continue its operations uninterrupted and, more importantly, to begin to make regular compensation payments to successful claimants. On 22 May 2003, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1483 (2003), which, inter alia (a) lifted the civilian sanctions imposed on Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait in 1990; (b) requested the Secretary-General to terminate the "oil-for-food" programme within six months of the date of the adoption of the resolution; and (c) changed in paragraph 21 the level of proceeds of all export sales of Iraqi petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas to be deposited into the Compensation Fund to 5 per cent. Security Council resolution 1546 (2004), adopted on 8 June 2004, provided for the continuation of the deposits of the proceeds referred to in paragraph 21 of resolution 1483 (2003).