The good news in Iraq is that despite three decades of war and neglect, there’s enough oil in the desert to kick-start a new petroleum boom.
But the bad news is that after three decades of chaos, the country is littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination. Like Chernobyl and Hiroshima, these areas produce elevated rates of birth defects and cancer, according to a new study announced in the Guardian (ht Naked Capitalism).
Many of these radioactive sites are clustered around major cities like Baghdad and Basra.
Although Saddam never had nuclear weapons or any well-known nuclear meltdowns, he wasn’t exactly known for his environmental policy. The typical patch of soil in Iraq has been desecrated by heavy pollution and
“it has been a battlefield for two wars, the Gulf war and the Iran-Iraq war, where many kinds of bombs were used. Also, oil pipelines were bombed and most of the contamination settled in and around Basra.”
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