Los efectos de la guerra de Irak sobre el medio ambiente

Además de los daños a la infraestructura y la muerte y el sufrimiento de los civiles, a lo que alude el cínico término "daño colateral", todas las guerras tienen efectos sobre el medio ambiente. La amplitud del daño ambiental depende de la duración de la guerra, las armas utilizadas y el tipo de terreno y los ecosistemas en los que se desarrolla.

El efecto final sobre el medio ambiente de la guerra de Irak sólo se podrá saber después de que termine el conflicto y se puedan hacer análisis completos en terreno y la información privilegiada se haga pública. Pero en base a mis experiencias de 1991, cuando encabecé un equipo de la ONU que estudió los efectos medioambientales de la primera Guerra del Golfo, es posible hacer varias observaciones iniciales.

Algunos describieron las tormentas de arena en el Irak sud-central de la primera semana de la guerra como algo "enviado por Alá contra los agresores". De hecho, las tropas estadounidenses y británicas no tienen a nadie a quien culpar por esto, excepto a sí mismas. Uno de los efectos notados durante y después de la primera Guerra del Golfo fue un aumento de las dunas de arena. Esto se debe a que el desierto en la región normalmente tiene una capa exterior dura o costra, lo que los árabes llaman "la piel del desierto", compuesta de arena y partículas de arcilla que han sido cocidas, o sinterizadas, por el calor y el sol.

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