La guerra y el medio ambiente

La preocupación acerca de las consecuencias medioambientales de la guerra probablemente comenzó después del lanzamiento de las primeras bombas atómicas sobre Hiroshima y Nagasaki al término de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuando nadie sabía cuánto duraría la contaminación radioactiva o qué medidas de limpieza debían tomarse. Durante la Guerra Fría, los efectos ambientales de una confrontación nuclear generalizada se convirtieron en materia de pronósticos y especulaciones, ilustrados por el concepto del "invierno nuclear".

No sólo las armas nucleares dieron origen a estos temores. El uso del Agente Amarillo y el Agente Naranja como defoliantes durante la Guerra de Vietnam generó un apasionado debate (y algunas investigaciones) acerca de tales efectos toxicológicos y ecológicos. Antes de la primera Guerra del Golfo en 1991, se discutieron los posibles efectos sobre el clima mundial si Irak incendiaba los pozos petroleros kuwaitíes, lo que se convirtió posteriormente en la principal imagen del efecto ambiental de dicha guerra.

Desde entonces se han hecho intentos por estudiar y documentar sistemáticamente las consecuencias ambientales de las guerras. Organizaciones internacionales como el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA) han iniciado varios estudios acerca de las guerras de los Balcanes y de los varios conflictos que consumieron a Afganistán durante la década de los 90. Desgraciadamente, las guerras africanas (en el Congo, Ruanda y Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leona y la Costa de Marfil) aún no reciben la atención que merecen.

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