Pollution Proves Deadly To Iraqi Families

Posted on Friday, September 23 at 12:14 by jensonj
Yousif’s death is one of many in Mosul linked to pollution and poor access to clean water, and doctors and residents say the problem is getting worse by the day. An Iraqi mother comforts her sick child at the only childrens' clinic near Mosul, which opened last October. "There are stinking swamps that cause illnesses in children and adults," said Sameera Ameen, a 44 year old housewife. "The government has to find a solution to this problem." Pediatrician Mahdi Muhammed said most of the patients he sees have respiratory, urinary and digestive problems linked to pollution. He said many children contract cholera and typhoid from poking through garbage piles. Others, he says, have breathing problems caused by the exhaust fumes from generators and the thousands of cars that flood Mosul’s streets. Another toxic source, said Muhammed, is the smoke caused by bomb attacks by insurgents. Amaal Fareed blames the aftermath of a car bomb for killing her two year old daughter. After inhaling fumes from the explosion, she developed asthma and eventually suffocated. Iraq’s Ministry of Health estimates that 250 to 300 metric tons of garbage are dumped every day into rivers and canals across the country. A new study by researchers at the University of Baghdad says hospitals are the worst offenders, with many of them dumping their trash - which often includes medical waste - into the waterways. Local resident Aneesa Mustafa calls it an environmental catastrophe, adding, "It’s an unforgivable crime when the streets and public squares in Mosul are swamped with tons of garbage." Nine out of 10 Iraqis do not have adequate access to safe drinking water, according to a report by the country’s Human Rights Documentation Centre. The report also notes that immune systems are weakened by air pollution in urban and rural areas, and alleges that cancer rates have climbed as a result of exposure to radioactive material used in weapons during the 1991 Gulf War. There may also be a threat of radiation from radioactive materials produced at a facility outside Mosul. In 1998, a United Nations inspection team removed a quantity of uranium from the site and buried it under three meters (10 feet) of sand in the Sahl Abbas area. But according to Salim Othman Ayub, the head of environmental affairs in Ninewa governorate, insurgents disturbed the site within a few months, digging up the radioactive material in order to sell it. A more widespread form of pollution comes from fuel-driven generators and cars, as well as the trucks, tanks and helicopters used by United States forces. Mosul has at least 3,000 generators, which have increased in popularity as power outages become more frequent. Ayub blames the increase in pollution on the security situation, poor infrastructure and a lack of respect for laws. The government does not have the resources to stop factories from polluting. Because Mosul lacks a proper sewage network and a good system for disposing of garbage, much of the waste from both businesses and homes ends up in the water system. Nor does the government have the resources to treat the water properly. "There is a problem with using chlorine," said Mahmood Nasir, of Ninewa’s Water Department. "The amount of chlorine used is small because availability is poor and the chlorine pumping equipment is broken." When there is no water from the tap, people are left with little choice. "We live in a house in the middle of the city, but I have to look for a water source for my family every day," said taxi driver Mustafa Allawi. "Sometimes the water outages last for weeks, so I have to collect water from the river in a plastic bucket." Even if one consciously tries to avoid drinking dirty water, there is always a risk of contamination, as Ibraheem Mahmood Dhafir discovered when he attended a funeral. "Because of the hot weather they brought us a block of ice so that we could have cold water," he said. "When they broke open the ice they found a frog inside. It was really disgusting. That means the owners of the ice factory had taken water from the river, not from the tap." http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2005/2005-09-21-02.asp

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  1. Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:51 pm
    One can only hope for retribution for these war crimes, these crimes against humanity.

    "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche

  2. Sat Sep 24, 2005 6:42 pm
    No matter where one resides in this World all people, cultures, races and of all spiritual beliefs want and desire the same basic things in live for their families and have the same desires of achievement for their children.

    If America wants respect, democracy and freedom for the people of Iraq as well as an end to violence and militancy then the United States and its Coalition must provide with out charge for these basic needs in a timely and just manner without exception. Instead of only violence and death for the common man and woman.

    As I have said before and since the Iraq War, it is worth repeating again that if the U.S. Military didn't go into Iraq and provide the basic services and needs to the people of Iraq then this campaigned will turn out to be like another Vietnam! Well its starting to look very much the same.

    People expect their base needs and wants fulfilled by their leaders and / or those in charged of the running their Country. Clearly this is not beening met in Iraq.

    What we do have is a ever growing desire by the Bush Administration to renege on their responsibilties to provide for the country and the people of Iraq but have not hesitated to look after its own domestic and foreign interests at every turn.

    The Marshall Plan which is beening tooted so greatly by the Bush Administration but is not beening implemented as it was at the end of WWII, it should be noted, benefited the American economy as well. The money would be used to buy goods from the United States, and they had to be shipped across the Atlantic on American merchant vessels. But it worked. By 1953 the United States had pumped in $13 billion, and Europe was standing on its feet again. Moreover, the Plan included West Germany, which was thus reintegrated into the European community. (The aid was all economic; it did not include military aid until after the Korean War.)

    I fear that Iraq will never be truly free and independent but will become and remain a forward Military Base of strategic operation, covert and otherwise.

    Perception is two thirds of what we perceive reality to be.

    Difficult decisions are a privilege of rank.

  3. Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:04 pm
    I don't think much consideration was/is made to the death toll in Iraq by the Bush administration. McDonalds will be served regardless. Soon GMC and Chevron will be the norm and Ghetto's can be established around them. Clean water! Who needs it when gasoline will be sold at the pumps.

  4. Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:07 pm
    Clean water! Who needs it when gasoline will be sold at the pumps. Isn't that why NATO is expected to contribute? It's becoming theirs and the Red Cross's responsibility to provide the basic's of survival.

  5. Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:36 pm
    Yes, the fascist-Islamic terrorists should be sued for making the lives of Iraqis miserable with their constant bombings that stop the rebuilding process.

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