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The Enviromental Impact of the Gulf War

Environmental Impacts of the Gulf War
Our countries recent endeavor into Iraq has shown that it has learned and will try to control the destruction that has devastated Iraq's natural habitat.In thefirst Gulf War our world became aware of the true impact that armed conflicts can have on the environment. Even though earlier instances in history surely had an equal or greater negative impact on our environment this was thefirst that was not obscured by the conflict itself.
Thefirst Gulf War was an international disaster to the environment with the extinction of two species and the toxic pollution of natural habitats and wildlife resulting from the 650 oil wells that were left ablaze, 76 that were pouring out crude oil, and another 99 that were damaged.Along with oil pervading the soil of the Iraq inland, the coast was not left undamaged but was stricken with the largest marine oil spills in history with a total of 6-8 million barrels of crude oil that poured into the Arabian Gulf severely polluting 560 kilometers of coastline.Inter tidal ecosystems were completely destroyed and oil slicks covered the shores.Over 30,000 wintering seabirds were killed which included the globally threatened Socotra Cormorant whose numbers continue to dwindle.
Before the near-total destruction of the Mesopotamian Marshlands due to the oil spills between 1991 and 2001, the marshlands formed one of the most extensive wetland ecosystems in Eurasia. The Marshlands extended for over 15,000 square kilometers and included freshwater lakes, marshes, and floodplains, now after the war the remains of the marshland is down to 50 square kilometers.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reported that the destruction of the marshlands had a significant negative impact on both wildlife and the human population surrounding the area. . A spokesman from the UNEP stated. "With significant implications to global biodiversity from Sib…

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