Collated studies on the biodiversity impact of the 1991 Gulf War.
Hostilities in Kuwait in January 1991 resulted in the discharge of an estimated 6-8 million barrels of oil, making it by far the world’s largest oil spill. This was followed by the conflagration of more than 600 oil wells, which had atmospheric consequences on both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. In addition to these and the more direct effects on human well-being, there were ‘secondary’ effects including destruction of sewage treatment plants in Kuwait. The first section of the document provides a background and pre-war setting to the Gulf, in terms of its biological and human environments. This preview is followed by a summary of the major findings of each study. Following initial post-war assessments, studies have included broadscale assessment of coastal ecosystems, analysis of contaminants in sediments, biota and seawater, studies on coral reefs and assessment of the shrimp fisheries.