Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Acid rain in the heart of summertime...Will it be all right to breathe?

Post-Conflict Assessment Sought For Lebanon

BEIRUT, Lebanon, August 22, 2006 (ENS) - The international environmental group Friends of the Earth is appealing to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to send a team from its Post-Conflict Branch to Lebanon and Israel to conduct an independent assessment of the environmental impacts of the recent war between Hezbollah and Israel...

Bromberg is particularly concerned about possible Israeli use of ammunition containing depleted uranium. "Allegations currently made such as those concerning the Israeli use of ammunition with depleted uranium need to be either substantiated or rejected based on a scientific and impartial investigation," he said.

The British media reported that U.S. cargo planes filled with depleted uranium munitions had landed at Prestwick airport, near Glasgow, for refuelling before delivering the weapons to the Israeli armed forces. On July 21, Indymedia UK reported that photos taken near the Lebanese border on July 14 by David Silverman showed Israeli soldiers loading depleted uranium shells into tanks.

The Lebanese Environment Ministry shares these concerns. In a statement earlier this month on the environmental effects of the conflict, the ministry said, "There has been mention in different sources that Israel has been using artillery that contains depleted uranium. The effects of these weapons, as has happened in Iraq, are long term and impact the human gene pool and spans generations."

The ministry is worried about air pollution, saying in a statement August 5, "The particulate air matter that are emitted by the bombing of buildings and infrastructure and that are carried by the air can cause breathing problems."

Piles of decomposing solid waste on roads and pathways are producing methane and volatile organic compounds. "Due to the war, the evacuation of the workers that were integral to the collection of the solid waste led to the piling up of the waste in the streets which has started to decompose due to the heat and has caused the spread of bad smells and can lead to the spread of diseases, insects and vermin," the ministry said.

Pollutants in the air can cause an increase in respiratory illnesses such as asthma and allergies. In addition, the bombardments have caused an increase in acid rain and in the emission of greenhouse gases that will impact climate change, the ministry said...

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