Iraks geheime Umweltkatastrophen

Seit dem Sturz von Saddam Hussein sind im Irak Horrorgeschichten aller Art herausgekommen. Nicht nur Menschen wurde schreckliche Gewalt angetan. Auch die irakische Umwelt wurde gequält.

Anfang der Siebziger Jahre kam es durch die Vergiftung mit Methylquecksilber zu einer großen Katastrophe, bei der Schätzungen zufolge 10.000 Menschen ums Leben kamen und 100.000 weitere ernste und dauerhafte Hirnschäden davontrugen. Dem Regime Saddam Husseins ist es größtenteils erfolgreich gelungen, Informationen über den Vorfall zurückzuhalten.

Das Problem begann Ende der Sechziger-/Anfang der Siebzigerjahre, als es im Irak eine Reihe von katastrophalen Ernten gab. Da die "Grüne Revolution" in ihren Anfängen lag, importierte Irak "Wunderweizen" aus Mexiko. Das Risiko bestand darin, dass das Saatgut während der langen, feuchten Überfahrt per Schiff in den Irak faulen könnte, wenn es nicht mit irgendeiner Art von Fungizid behandelt wird. Methylquecksilber erwies sich als kostengünstigstes Fungizid, denn es war erst vor kurzem in Skandinavien und mehreren amerikanischen Staaten aufgrund von Umwelt- und toxikologischen Risiken verboten worden. Der Weltmarkt war voll davon und die Preise fielen.

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