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War in Iraq: What's the Cost to the Environment?

时间:2005-05-29 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:wuqisheep   字体: [ ]

Broadcast: Mar1 27, 2003


When Iraqi soldiers retreated from Kuwait during the first Gulf2 War in 1991, they set fire to 600 oil wells. Towering pillars of fire and columns of smoke vented3 from the wells for eight months, spreading toxic4 fumes5 in all directions. The Iraqi military also unleashed6 the largest oil slick ever over lowlands and farms. Twenty-five thousand birds died, fisheries were degraded, and acid rain poisoned trees.

Despite this widespread destruction, the Persian Gulf 1)rebounded faster than scientists had predicted, according to environmentalist Jonathan Lash7, he is a president of the World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank.

"People were afraid that the damage from the oil fields would be 2)permanent. And in fact in the decade that has ensued, the fish is putting much recovered. There is still some evidence of contamination and no one knows how long the toxins8 in the water column will remain, but because the water is relatively9 warm the natural process of cleanup went remarkably10 fast," he says. "The story with regard to Kuwaiti lands, and in particular agricultural lands, was not quite so good. There are still vast areas that are caked with hardened 3)residue11 of oil vapor12 and carbon that has made agriculture difficult. The Kuwaitis say it killed about 80 percent of their livestock13."

Mr. Lash says the situation in Iraq could be radically14 different, especially if Saddam Hussein initiates15 what he calls "a scorched16 earth" policy.

JL: "If Saddam Hussein's government chooses to ignite their oil fields and there is some of evidence that is happening more scarce, the oil fields are much larger than the Kuwaiti oil fields. They are distributed much more widely through Iraq through the southern regions that the alliance forces entered first all the way up to the north and in much more populated areas. So, the potential scale of the consequences is very great. Iraqis also depend on surface water for drinking water and there is a high risk of contamination of water supplies in this conflict."

RS: "So, what I hear you saying is that oil becomes kind of a weapon itself because of the impact after these fields are ignited and what have you."

JL: "That is the risk. Not that it becomes a weapon, but it is intentionally17 used as a weapon. We are all used to thinking of environmental destruction as the unintended consequences of people's actions. This is a case where environmental destruction is an intended consequence to interfere18 with advancing armies or even worse, to interfere with recovery afterwards."

RS: "How, under life and death pressures of armed conflict, can an army minimize the environmental impact of war?"

JL: "There have certainly been changes since the first Gulf War in terms of backing away from some of the 4)munitions that appear to be most dangerous in the aftermath of the war. There certainly can be care taken not to destroy key infrastructure19 or water sources. Probably the most important step during the conflict is to be ready to act extremely quickly to respond to oil field fires or other measures of destruction, to have the equipment ready and if possible to use military force to prevent that kind of action."

RS: "What about when the war is over, what kind of plan [should be put in place] or should planning be going on while the war going on to protect the environment - the air, the water, the land that people depend on who live in the region."

JL: "It seems strange to be speculating while the fighting is underway, but in fact planning has been underway for months to think about what will happen after the war. At some point there will be some kind of peace, and then the key issue after security will be to help Iraqis rebuild their lives. At that point the state of their environment will become a very important issue, where they get clean water, how quickly they can restore their agriculture, and begin supporting themselves, how extensively their health has been affected20 by the construction of the war and any environmental destruction. At that point, it will be very important for the cleanup to go forward quickly, for people to get information about the cleanup, what's happening, what the risks are. For Iraqis to have the opportunity to participate in decisions that shape their environment, to make decisions about what the highest priorities are. It is interesting as the former Soviet21 Union was collapsing22, one of the first areas in which public participation23 was allowed in [that] totalitarian society was with regard to the environmental destruction that was invisible throughout the former Soviet Union. And here, too, there is an opportunity for Iraqis to participate in very immediate24 decisions that directly affect them as the cleanup begins."

RS: "Thank you very much, thank you for speaking with us today."

JL: "Nice to talking with you. "

Jonathan Lash is a president of the World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank in Washington.

The United Nations Environment Program announced last week that it has begun to study the environmental impact of the war in Iraq and plans to send a team into the country after the war to assess the situation and help mitigate25 any problems. The U.N. agency has done similar reports on environmental damage resulting from conflicts in Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, and the Palestinian Territories. It recently examined the health effects of the depleted26 uranium that was released by the Balkans civil war.

I'm Rosanne Skirble.


1)    rebound[ri5baund]v.回弹

2)    permanent [5pE:mEnEnt]adj.永久的, 持久的

3)    residue [5rezidju:]n.残余, 渣滓, 滤渣, 残数, 剩余物

4)    munition[mju(:)5niFEn]n.军需品


1 mar f7Kzq     
  • It was not the custom for elderly people to mar the picnics with their presence.大人们照例不参加这样的野餐以免扫兴。
  • Such a marriage might mar your career.这样的婚姻说不定会毁了你的一生。
2 gulf 1e0xp     
  • The gulf between the two leaders cannot be bridged.两位领导人之间的鸿沟难以跨越。
  • There is a gulf between the two cities.这两座城市间有个海湾。
3 vented 55ee938bf7df64d83f63bc9318ecb147     
表达,发泄(感情,尤指愤怒)( vent的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He vented his frustration on his wife. 他受到挫折却把气发泄到妻子身上。
  • He vented his anger on his secretary. 他朝秘书发泄怒气。
4 toxic inSwc     
  • The factory had accidentally released a quantity of toxic waste into the sea.这家工厂意外泄漏大量有毒废物到海中。
  • There is a risk that toxic chemicals might be blasted into the atmosphere.爆炸后有毒化学物质可能会进入大气层。
5 fumes lsYz3Q     
  • The health of our children is being endangered by exhaust fumes. 我们孩子们的健康正受到排放出的废气的损害。
  • Exhaust fumes are bad for your health. 废气对健康有害。
6 unleashed unleashed     
v.把(感情、力量等)释放出来,发泄( unleash的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The government's proposals unleashed a storm of protest in the press. 政府的提案引发了新闻界的抗议浪潮。
  • The full force of his rage was unleashed against me. 他把所有的怒气都发泄在我身上。 来自《简明英汉词典》
7 lash a2oxR     
  • He received a lash of her hand on his cheek.他突然被她打了一记耳光。
  • With a lash of its tail the tiger leaped at her.老虎把尾巴一甩朝她扑过来。
8 toxins 18c3f40d432ba8dc33bad8fb82873ea8     
n.毒素( toxin的名词复数 )
  • The seas have been used as a receptacle for a range of industrial toxins. 海洋成了各种有毒工业废料的大容器。
  • Most toxins are naturally excreted from the body. 大部分毒素被自然排出体外。 来自《简明英汉词典》
9 relatively bkqzS3     
  • The rabbit is a relatively recent introduction in Australia.兔子是相对较新引入澳大利亚的物种。
  • The operation was relatively painless.手术相对来说不痛。
10 remarkably EkPzTW     
  • I thought she was remarkably restrained in the circumstances. 我认为她在那种情况下非常克制。
  • He made a remarkably swift recovery. 他康复得相当快。
11 residue 6B0z1     
  • Mary scraped the residue of food from the plates before putting them under water.玛丽在把盘子放入水之前先刮去上面的食物残渣。
  • Pesticide persistence beyond the critical period for control leads to residue problems.农药一旦超过控制的临界期,就会导致残留问题。
12 vapor DHJy2     
  • The cold wind condenses vapor into rain.冷风使水蒸气凝结成雨。
  • This new machine sometimes transpires a lot of hot vapor.这部机器有时排出大量的热气。
13 livestock c0Wx1     
  • Both men and livestock are flourishing.人畜两旺。
  • The heavy rains and flooding killed scores of livestock.暴雨和大水淹死了许多牲口。
14 radically ITQxu     
  • I think we may have to rethink our policies fairly radically. 我认为我们可能要对我们的政策进行根本的反思。
  • The health service must be radically reformed. 公共医疗卫生服务必须进行彻底改革。
15 initiates e9c5430fb8a57cddedf60c5a1d5a56a7     
v.开始( initiate的第三人称单数 );传授;发起;接纳新成员
  • The booklet initiates us into the problems of living abroad. 这本小册子使我们对国外的生活情况有了初步了解。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Everybody initiates and receives messages in some form or other. 每个人都以各种不同的方式发出并接收信息。 来自辞典例句
16 scorched a5fdd52977662c80951e2b41c31587a0     
烧焦,烤焦( scorch的过去式和过去分词 ); 使(植物)枯萎,把…晒枯; 高速行驶; 枯焦
  • I scorched my dress when I was ironing it. 我把自己的连衣裙熨焦了。
  • The hot iron scorched the tablecloth. 热熨斗把桌布烫焦了。
17 intentionally 7qOzFn     
  • I didn't say it intentionally. 我是无心说的。
  • The local authority ruled that he had made himself intentionally homeless and was therefore not entitled to be rehoused. 当地政府裁定他是有意居无定所,因此没有资格再获得提供住房。
18 interfere b5lx0     
  • If we interfere, it may do more harm than good.如果我们干预的话,可能弊多利少。
  • When others interfere in the affair,it always makes troubles. 别人一卷入这一事件,棘手的事情就来了。
19 infrastructure UbBz5     
  • We should step up the development of infrastructure for research.加强科学基础设施建设。
  • We should strengthen cultural infrastructure and boost various types of popular culture.加强文化基础设施建设,发展各类群众文化。
20 affected TzUzg0     
  • She showed an affected interest in our subject.她假装对我们的课题感到兴趣。
  • His manners are affected.他的态度不自然。
21 Soviet Sw9wR     
  • Zhukov was a marshal of the former Soviet Union.朱可夫是前苏联的一位元帅。
  • Germany began to attack the Soviet Union in 1941.德国在1941年开始进攻苏联。
22 collapsing 6becc10b3eacfd79485e188c6ac90cb2     
  • Rescuers used props to stop the roof of the tunnel collapsing. 救援人员用支柱防止隧道顶塌陷。
  • The rocks were folded by collapsing into the center of the trough. 岩石由于坍陷进入凹槽的中心而发生褶皱。
23 participation KS9zu     
  • Some of the magic tricks called for audience participation.有些魔术要求有观众的参与。
  • The scheme aims to encourage increased participation in sporting activities.这个方案旨在鼓励大众更多地参与体育活动。
24 immediate aapxh     
  • His immediate neighbours felt it their duty to call.他的近邻认为他们有责任去拜访。
  • We declared ourselves for the immediate convocation of the meeting.我们主张立即召开这个会议。
25 mitigate EjRyf     
  • The government is trying to mitigate the effects of inflation.政府正试图缓和通货膨胀的影响。
  • Governments should endeavour to mitigate distress.政府应努力缓解贫困问题。
26 depleted 31d93165da679292f22e5e2e5aa49a03     
adj. 枯竭的, 废弃的 动词deplete的过去式和过去分词
  • Food supplies were severely depleted. 食物供应已严重不足。
  • Both teams were severely depleted by injuries. 两个队都因队员受伤而实力大减。
TAG标签:   voa  健康之旅  war  cost
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