Question: How Does War Impact The Environment?
If one had the slightest curiosity to look for the effects wars left on the countries being affected by them he would certainly find the evidences as well as the traces of those wars deeply imprinted in the survivors’ minds.
If we were to consider all the wars being fought on such continents as Africa, Europe, Asia or America, then most certainly we would come to the conclusion that they all impacted more or less the environment of those continents.
Let’s take for example the wars that took place in the African countries. Most of these wars were fought over disputes regarding the drawing of borders previously established by the colonizing forces that at one time had taken control over those territories. Besides from the fact that these wars brought with them pests and diseases such as AIDS, they also endangered some species of animals, significantly declining their number and all this mainly because they were hunted down in order to serve as food or for material gains. The placement of landmines practically made farming and herding quite dangerous in some areas and as such there were cases when people faced starvation.
When mentioning starvation and Africa together one certainly thinks about the situation in Somalia. You probably know that this country was affected by a war that took place in 1991. How did this war impact Somalia’s environment? It seems that at that time, as we all know that most of Somalian people did not have a healthy diet, and most of them do not have one now either, they were encouraged by the International Red Cross to include fish in their daily meals. To put it in a funny way they must have found this dish delicious and as such they started practicing what people generally call over fishing. This fact clearly impacted the environment in a negative way.
When talking about wars one should not forget to mention the one from Afghanistan which most certainly affected the lives of millions and millions of people. What better way to prove this if not considering the disastrous effects this war had on the country? When talking about its effects one should not fail to mention the destruction of the infrastructure, the contamination of drinking water sources which managed to leave the people without the necessary supplies of water. And if you imagine that this, as well as the pollution caused by the weapons used to destroy the enemy targets did not affect the health of the people living in this country then you are clearly wrong as they all managed to do just so.
You probably know as you must have heard about on TV or radio that important terrorist leaders are said to be hiding in the mountains at the Afghan border. How do you think that this impacted the habitat of the animals living there? How do you think the camping of large military forces there impacted the lives of those animals? Evidences show that the area was once populated by leopards which probably sought refuge there but these animals ended being hunted and traded in to make sure that the country’s borders will be safely crossed.
How about all the explosives being used by the enemy forces? Do you think they impacted the soil, the water or the air in any way? They certainly did this but in a disastrous manner for sure. Not only that they affected these natural resources but they also directly impacted people’s health. You all probably know about the increasing number of landmines which continue to kill many men, women and children even nowadays.
How about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear explosions? Not only did these explosions manage to kill an increasing number of people but the radiations did this too. Did you ever hear anyone mentioning radioactive precipitations before? Well, this is exactly what happened at that time; these precipitations managed to kill almost all the plants in the area and destroyed most of the animal life too. Radioactive sand also impacted the wells that provided people with drinking water and as such people started facing serious shortages of drinking water. What about agriculture? Do you thing it affected soil too? For sure it did and as such not only that people were left without the all surviving water supplies but they also faced hunger.
Another war which can be labeled as famous in a bitter way of course is the one that took place in Iraq and Kuwait. It was perhaps one of the most devastating wars when it comes to the impact it had on the environment. Being associated with one of the largest ecological disasters when it comes to the oil spill into the Persian Gulf, this war certainly generated major environmental problems. Thousands of migratory birds were killed at that time in what can be considered to be one of the most catastrophic ecological disasters. Not only that oil managed to pollute water sources but being ignited it also facilitated the release of large quantities of air pollutants into the atmosphere, pollutants that led to the appearance of acid rain. Do you think that all these conditions facilitated the growth of plants or kept people in good health condition? They most certainly didn’t do this as everything was covered in toxic smog that clearly endangered both men and plants and animals as well. Having no clean source of water people were forced to drink polluted water and as such this led to the spread of diseases such as typhoid fever as well as many other such diseases.
What about the war fought by the United States in Iraq. It all started in 2003 and it was meant to fight terrorism yet it brought nothing but poverty to the Iraqi people. Besides the fact that this war made use of weapons extremely dangerous for the environment such as uranium and phosphorus it also managed to kill many innocent people. Did you hear about the large amounts of uranium being emptied out in rivers from barrels being stolen from a nuclear plant located in Baghdad? This is exactly what happened and you can only imagine the impact this incident had on the living creatures from those rivers.
The air was most certainly unbreathable as large amounts of heavy metals and harmful substances were released into the atmosphere after chemical plants and war machinery were placed under fire. Not only was the quality of the air affected but also the land and the water. Picture the image of all these toxic substances permeating the groundwater and the surface water sources and take your time to try finding possible ways to get rid of all that poison that clearly affects your life, if one may still be able to envision life in such a setting.
Wars are normally connected with some of the world’s most devastating ecological disasters, with death and destruction. It takes years to erase the traces left by wars yet they remain forever alive in the people’s minds. One question is frequently asked when it comes to wars: are they worth being carried on? When a war starts, the explanation of its beginning certainly lies in the political interests involved by the area in which the war takes place. Is that area rich in natural resources that could be used for own interest, is there any nuclear weapon involved? If there is then most certainly a war is about to burst out. Unfortunately in a war being fought between two parties, the attacker and the one being attacked, those who are really affected are the innocent people, mostly women and children. They are the ones who suffer great hunger, who die being affected by pollution related diseases, who are taken by surprise by some night bombings aiming at some important strategic enemy warehouses but unfortunately hitting buildings inhabited by normal people. Why are these wars really fought? Are there any political interests animating innocent soldiers being sent to fight in fact someone else’s war? So many questions, too many in fact for most of you. Being not personally affected by such wars we only read or watch documentaries about them but the real disaster is the one being witnessed by those people caught in the middle of it.
Did you find yourself caught in the middle of some war? I mean a real war not just a war of words or a mere dispute, a war which left scars in one’s soul, evident marks of pain and sometimes deep hate. If you ever witnessed a war how do you think that war impacted the environment in that area? All these questions expect an answer, your answer. I have my own too; I’d say that wars leave unforgettable marks on the environment, impacting it in a unique negative way and all this because humans seem to be animated mainly by the fever to conquer and dominate everything.11