Use of Super-Powerful Weapons in Iraq Can Lead to Ecocatastrophe

The use of super-powerful weapons in Iraq can lead to a global ecological catastrophe whose consequences are difficult to imagine, Vladimir Slivyak, co-chairman of the Ecozashchita international ecological organization, said on Thursday.

Mr. Slivyak said that the use of such weapons can worsen the seismic system in the region. According to him, the magnitude of an earthquake can reach 6 to 7 points according to Richter scale. Moreover, earth tremors can be registered not only in Iraq and adjoining areas but thousands of kilometers away from it.

Mr. Slivyak also said that huge oil stores in the region pose another serious threat to the planet's environment. In case of oil leakage and further ignition, hundreds of tons will get into atmosphere, which can kill all living creatures in the region. Moreover, he stressed, oil fire extinguishing technologies have not yet been worked out properly, that is why "the consequences of such an ecocatastrophe are unpredictable." Besides, if the situation changes for the worse, the climate in the region can change and it will affect other larger areas.

Nuclear warheads with depleted uranium used in the area of the theatre of war -that fact is not much publicized - poses another serious threat to people. The ecologist pointed out that such kind of uranium is not highly radioactive, however, its accumulation is dangerous for health.

In particular, when it gets into a human body together with food or water, it affects internals, which leads to cancer. Moreover, the use of such weapons is dangerous for both parties.

According to the expert, warheads with depleted uranium were used in all armed conflicts in the last decade, for instance, in the Desert Storm operation and in war operations in the states of former Yugoslavia. According to data provided by the Bosnian Health Ministry, there have been registered a double increase of patients with cancer in Bosnia by 2001 after the use of nuclear weapons in 1994-1995, Mr. Slivyak said.