Iraq is under grip of war pollution since many decades. Gulf War took place between the United States and Iraq. This had a great impact on the surroundings and populace of Iraq due to use of hazardous weapons in the war. It had polluted the environment of Iraq and weakened its economy. Some noticeable effects of wars on the economy are government, welfare of the people, and environment. The most destructive battle was the 1991 war. In this warfare, first time in the history, Depleted Uranium (DU) armaments have been used to defeat Iraq.
It is well known that Depleted Uranium is an extremely toxic heavy metal which comes out from nuclear bomb and fuel desecrate. It has a pyrophoric qualities and weighty. In the warfare, it is generally used to destroy battle tanks, and on contact it grinds into breathable aerosol-like dust that can travel 26 miles and remains radioactive for 4. 5 billion years. Such radioactive and toxic weapon has dented the environment and the human population of intense magnitude (Jasiewicz, 2005). U. S.
-led forces used Depleted uranium weapons in the war that have left battle sites all through Iraq infected with unusually soaring levels of radiation (Johnson, 2005). While observing the situation of Iraq after eight years of 1991 armed forces belligerence, shocking facts are coming to lime light which was concerned with the awfully perilous effects resulted from of the use of Depleted Uranium weaponry on the environment and population. It is assessed that such weapons and munitions can produce inexcusable pain and anguish to the civilian population as well as the belligerents.
Majority of people are not aware of long term effect of internalized depleted uranium, but the Army has confessed that when DU penetrates in the body, it can create significant medical consequences. When DU particles are inhaled, it may become lastingly trapped in the lungs. The DU weapons which created war pollution in Iraq, releases Alpha particle dose to a single cell from U-238 which is 50 times of the annual dose level. Cancer is prompted with even one alpha particle, its daughter isotopes affect generations as the isotopes bio-concentrate in plants and animals, and treks up the food chain.
One gram of DU discharges more than 12,000 particles per second. The radiation slowly destroys the cells which are responsible to make the life possible. The same thing is observed in the Gulf War syndrome of 1991. From over a decade of DU exposures, the long-term effects are rising in Southern Iraq. In Iraq, they had previously predicted to 6 to 10 times of 1991 and likely to voyage through a larger area and affect many more people, babies and unborn. From DU radiations, countries within a radius of 1000 miles of Baghdad and Kabul are being pretentious.
These are affecting future generation because it is unfeasible to take away, the victim is steadily irradiated. Still births, birth defects, leukemia, damaged central nervous systems are common in children born since 1991. Child leukemia has increased 600 % in areas of Iraq according to the report by the Netherland Visie Foundation (Bhagwat Vishnu, 2004). If DU pollutes the environment, it can also be transferred through hand-to-mouth or infectivity of water or food supplies.
When DU goes in the body through wind contagion, it enters into the bloodstream and travel right through the body, with most of it eventually absorbed in the kidney, bone, or liver. The kidney is most susceptible organ to DU toxicity. DU acts as a chemical and radiological pollutant for organs and bones which remains in the body of a person’s entire lifetime (The Iraqi News Agency, 2007). It is apparent that DU particles have the capability to pierce, crumble, crack and break down the physical and mental health of human life, through much hazardous syndromes.
It can kill, gradually and indiscernibly with the effects of DU indistinguishable for the first 4 years of exposure (Jasiewicz, 2005). Due to uranium’s chemically toxic property, it has potential to damage kidneys and lungs. Perhaps, the fatal epidemic of swollen abdomens among Iraqi children was observed that is mainly because of kidney failure consequential from uranium poisoning. The war weaponry, DU resulted in extensive infectivity of the environment in Iraq and human suffering to which not only the present generation but also the future generations will be affected.
The consequences of exposure to emission of DU magnify abortion and congenital anomalies at speedy rate. It is more sickening to know that other congenital anomalies that continue for three to four generations for parents were mainly due to exposure of radiation. Most doctors and scientists have the same opinion on the issue of DU radiation that is even mild radiation is risky and augment the risk of cancer. The health is at risk once the shotgun shell has been fired up.
Expert opinion states that when DU have been fired, the broken shells let go uranium particles. The airborne particles enter the body with no trouble. The uranium then sets down itself in bones, organs and cells. It has been mentioned that Children are more susceptible because their cells divide speedily as they mature. The war pollution is great threat to pregnant women. When DU is absorbed in pregnant women it can cross the placenta into the bloodstream of the foetus.
In one report, it was mentioned that the actual jeopardy took place from the inhalation of airborne particles of uranium dust produced by DU shells hit and burned armoured vehicles. When the shell had impacted a large proportion of its metallic mass was crushed and the resulted fine airborne particles which were toxic to the kidneys and lungs, could easily be consumed (The Iraqi News Agency, 2007). Guenther, also president of the Australian Yellow Cross International, traced down an American war crime carried out wide-ranging studies in Iraq on the effect of DU on Iraqi population.
These studies produced abundant evidence to show that contact with DU missiles has a variety of harmful effects which will be passed through many generations, especially for children which are substantially increasing in infectious diseases caused by most severe deficiencies, recurrent rate of colossal herpes and zoster sufferings, also in children, AIDS-like Syndrome; Hitherto a unknown syndrome causing renal and hepatic dysfunctions; Leukemia, elaptic anemia and malignant neoplasms; Congenital deformities caused by genetic defects.
Medical and other scientific research institutions conducted surveys relating to the extent of damage of human population from the use of radioactive weapons by the alliance forces in the war against Iraq. It was exemplified that there were anomalous increase in the occurrence of cancer of the blood, the lungs, the digestive system and the skin.
There has also been a remarkable increase in the frequency of congenital diseases and foetal deformities, such as the presence of additional abnormal organs, hydrocephaly, anencephaly, eye diseases and even the total absence or deformity of eyes. Medical practitioners reported that cases of twin births with Down’s syndrome have emerged, in addition to skeletal abnormalities, congenital syndromes and chromosomal trisomies, as well as inexplicable cases of hair fall and exceptional skin diseases among persons exaggerated by, or living in the surrounding of the bombarded areas.
The number of persons are badly affected with attacks of epidemic vertigo and severe vertigo accompanied by nausea and loss of balance, and also in the numbers of patients afflicted with attacks of distorted vision and loss of sight in part of the eye, accompanied by severe migraine, in addition to mysterious cases of infertility among both sexes and an increase in the incidence of miscarriages and untimely and complicated births. These harmful effects of DU on populace of Iraq already injected war infection on their future generation.
Many health experts suspect that the post-war boost in childhood cancer and inexplicable swollen abdomens in Iraq is at least in part because of the radioactive shells. Dr. Huda Ammash, an Iraqi environmental biologist and professor at Baghdad University, analyzed that “the prolonged effect of ionization caused by the colossal energy emission and light energy from the massive bombing is, over a period of more than ten years, equal to one hundred Chernobyls.
” Dr. Ammash and other scholars noted that an outburst of meningitis in children in one Baghdad locality is highly unusual and there may be an appearance of high ionization levels. Though the use of DU caused severe direct effects on civilians, their use caused a grave effluence of the environment. It will show its cruel intensity after many years, the long-term effects have started to become visible.
To determine the degree of the dissolute and illegitimate use of DU weapons against Iraq, epidemiological and statistical studies are continuously conducted (The Iraqi News Agency, 2007). Allied forces used weapons containing depleted uranium (DU) not only in concentrated area but expansively at the west parts of the city of Basrah. So the depleted uranium has led to amplified levels of radiation in the combat zone and the nearby cities and countryside.