Los desastres ambientales ocultos de Irak

A partir de la caída de Saddam Hussein han surgido historias de terror de todo tipo en Iraq. Pero no sólo la gente fue víctima de abusos terribles; también el medio ambiente iraquí sufrió malos tratos.

A principios de los años setenta, ocurrió una gran catástrofe de intoxicación por mercurio metílico en la que se calcula que murieron 10,000 personas y 100,000 más sufrieron daños cerebrales severos y permanentes. El régimen de Saddam Hussein logró ocultar en gran medida la información sobre el caso.

El problema comenzó a finales de los sesenta y principios de los setenta, cuando Iraq tuvo una serie de cosechas fatales. Dado que la "revolución verde" estaba empezando, Iraq importó "trigo maravilla" de México. El problema era que la semilla podía enmohecerse durante la larga y húmeda travesía por el océano hasta Iraq si no se le trataba con algún fungicida. El mercurio metílico resultó ser el fungicida más económico, ya que acababa de ser prohibido en Escandinavia y varios estados de los EU debido a los riesgos ambientales y toxicológicos, de manera que el mercado internacional estaba inundado y los precios cayeron.

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