Environmental Impact

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a essay I wrote about the environmental impact our Mother Earth has suffered from wars.

Submitted: August 11, 2008

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Submitted: August 11, 2008

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The United States have entered into many wars since the end of World War 2 because they believe they have the right to intervene in other countries affairs. The cost is not only the thousands of civilians and soldier causalities, but the environment has suffered and continues to suffer. Two out of the three wars I will be discussing are still continuing today. Heavy bombing and chemical warfare has caused severe damage and destruction to forests, villages and wildlife.
In the Vietnam War, as an attempt to smoke out the Viet Cong out of the jungle, the U.S sprayed herbicides on the forests of Vietnam over a 9 year period. The most common chemical was Agent Orange. Even though the Federation of American Scientists believed Agent Orange to be too risky to use, the toxicity to humans was unclear, the U.S used it anyway. Research later demonstrated that one of the major components was dioxin, a substance which causes birth defects, damage to human sperm and disruptions to the immune systems. Since the spraying of the herbicides, two generations of children living in Vietnam and the U.S have suffered from twisted or missing limbs (Mitchner). An estimated 72.4 millions litres of herbicides were sprayed on South Vietnam, affecting 43% of the cultivated area and 44% of the total area. It has also been claimed that 43% of the south’s plantations and orchards were destroyed killing 44% of the forests denizens. The forest serves as the regulator for the surface run off, the dry and wet monsoons are sharply differentiated and forest destruction has led to summer flooding and winter droughts. (greenleft.org.au).
In 2001, the U.S entered into the “War on Terror” by attacking Afghanistan, this war continues to exist today. With severe damage being done to the environment, including an estimated 10 000 villages with their surrounding areas destroyed. Due to the destruction of infrastructure, there is bacterial contamination and the result has been that safe drinking water is declining. Afghanistan once consisted of major forests watered by monsoons, only 2% existing today. This is partially due to Taliban members trading timber illegally, U.S bombings and refuges. Bombs and military forces continually threaten much of the countries wildlife. Once one of the world’s most important migratory routes for birds lead through Afghanistan. Now the number of birds flying this route has dropped by 85%. Pollution from the application of explosives has entered air, soil and water. (Lenntech).
In 2003 the U.S entered yet another war in continuation of their“War on Terror”, by attacking Iraq, this war is contributing to the environmental damage seen today. There has been extensive damage to sanitation structures by frequent bombings. These frequent bombings have caused power blackouts that have polluted the river Tigris. Further bombings has resulted in extensive destruction within villages, town and cities of Iraq, some leveled to the point of being wastelands. Oil trenches are burning resulting in air pollution. In Northern Iraq a sulfur plant burned for one month , contributing to even more air pollution. As fires continue, ground water applied as a drinking water source could be polluted as well. Military movement and weapon application as resulted in dreadful conditions of the land. (Lenntech).
A few questions remain, what is being done about all this damage to the environment? How can anything really be done about two wars that are still continuing today? In the case of Vietnam’s forest the Vietnamese government began a partly successful program of reforestation, although they were left without any foreign aid or access to scientific assistance. The plan involves the reforestation of 1.5 million hectares within 10 years, with some success in the replanting of tropical moist forests. Regrettably large sections of the country remain wastelands, referred to as,” Agent Orange Museums” to the Vietnamese. (greenleft.org.au).On the United Nations website, I did not find any relief programs for Afghanistan or Iraq. Though many countries have contributed funds to Afghanistan through various organizations. A total of $15,117,550 USD has been collected as of April, 2008. Iraq have received funds as well from countries though not as many as Afghanistan. Iraq has received (through various organizations aswell) a total of $42,069,643 USD as of April, 2008. A large amount of the money Afghanistan and Iraq received  is going towards humanitarian needs with a low amount going towards environment recontruction. (reliefweb). I did not find many concerns about the damage war has cause on the Afghanistan and Iraq environment. Maybe this is because we have not begun to realize the extent of the damage, maybe people will only see it when it is too late.
Works Cited
 
greenleft.org.au. 14 July 1993. 7 April 2008 .
Lenntech. Sept 2006. 5 April 2008 .
Mitchner, Alyn.E Tuffs ,Joanne.R. Global Forces of the Twentieth Century. Toronto: Nelson, 2003.
reliefweb. 11 April 2008. 2008 April 2008 .


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