Warfare damages on the environment

In a war, the highest toll is paid by men, women and children – with their lives. But behind any conflict there is another price to be paid, immediate and urgent, by all of us. It is the damage to the environment. In Ukraine, it is already very serious. On the one hand, the nuclear threat; on the other, the long list of “collateral damages” that go down heavily on the present and the future of our Planet, already on the edge of the abyss before February 24.

Let’s start with woodlands. It is esteemed that eleven million hectares of forests (the 15% of the whole Ukrainian territory) are at risk – fires, uncontrolled deforestation, the loss of any policy meant to manage and preserve. Biodiversity is at risk; the same (as reported by la Repubblica) for primeval beech forests in Uholka Skyrokyj Luh, a protected area in Carpazi region. Not to talk of the potential illegal exportation and the radioactive contamination that any conflict produces on what is called “war lumber”.

Chapter Mines. They are one of the great riches of this Country; only in Donbass, where war has been going on since 2014, there are twenty-two of them. Why does a deserted mine become dangerous for the environment? Because it is filled by water and that water, contaminated and radioactive, ends up in the groundwaters. Among the deserted mines there is the Yunkom, where coal was extracted and above all where during the Seventies the Soviet Union had been carrying on nuclear tests. Not to mention the fact that Ukraine has, besides Chernobyl, the largest and most powerful nuclear power plant in Europe: Zaporizhzhia. In case of a radiation leak, no one on Earth would be safe.

In addition to this, bombings, explosions and collapsing of houses and buildings create a severe damage to the environment. Bombs and missiles, besides causing deaths and destruction, raise large quantities of fine particulate in a territory, that of Ukraine, that already before the war had an extremely bad air quality.

Last but not least, the pollution caused by the armies and their vehicles. During these last months the specialist media reported more than once that only one Abrams M1 tank (used by U.S.) consumes 45 litres of fuel every 100 km, emitting more than 1.100 kilos of dioxide.

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