The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified the world’s most widely used herbicide Roundup as probably carcinogenic in humans. Roundup is widely used in US supported efforts to destroy poppy and coca fields in Colombia’s long running internal conflict and the decision will add to existing concerns over the health impact of aerial spraying.
While Iraq is still recovering from the environmental impact of both Gulf wars, it now faces new environmental problems caused by the current conflict against the Islamic State. Since the uprising began in June 2014, fierce battles have taken place in and around cities and industrial areas, affecting the already precarious environmental situation. Wim Zwijnenburg considers the risks and response.
The widespread damage to urban areas in the latest conflict in Gaza has generated a range of toxic remnants of war, from debris, to sewage and water contamination to the residues of weapons, there is a pressing need for an environmental assessment in the affected areas.
Syria’s oil industry has begun to be targeted by the US. Military policies indicate that the environmental consequences of the strategy are low on the agenda but the move looks set to have direct and indirect impacts on Syria’s environment and people.
NATO’s presence in Afghanistan included 1200 properties, from major airbases to small forward operating bases. Environmental oversight was mixed and the Afghan national authorities had limited capacity for investigating contamination or other forms of damage. Furthermore, the bilateral agreements between Afghanistan and major NATO contributing nations provided very limited scope for environmental redress.