The Consequences of The Gulf War

INTRODUCTION

The Gulf War had an immense impact on humans from both sides but humans were not the only victims of The Gulf War. The one victim incapable of defending itself from the effects of war was the landscape itself. The amount of troops and machinery on the land devastated plant life and the soil. In addition to the damage to the land, pollution caused by weaponry also had an impact in Kuwait. A direct consequence of The Gulf War, the economy suffered as crops failed and marine life suffered as oil spilled into the sea.

ENVIRONMENT DISASTER FOR THE LAND

During The Gulf War many troops and heavy artillery were introduced to Kuwait. These ground forces trampled the desert sands across the desert and any plant life found in this harsh environment were destroyed. Saddam Hussain responded by burning over 600 oil wells across Kuwait. The damage caused by these fires included:

  • Temperatures across Kuwait dropped due to pollution
  • People became ill with smoke inhalation diseases
  • Acid rain fell causing damage to plant life, wild life and people

Scientists had predicted far worse consequences than the fires actually produced however the devastation was enough to damage the environment. Scientists were worried that the smoke produced by the fires could cause a nuclear winter should the pollution reach the upper atmosphere.

ENVIRONMENT DISASTER FOR THE SEA

1991 saw devastation that was caused by oil being tipped into the sea. Between January and May it is believed that approximately 8 million barrels of oil were tipped causing devastation of approximately 800 miles of coastline around Kuwait. This oil spillage saw one of the worst marine disasters of the modern age. Marine life that was affected by the oil included:

  • Migratory birds
  • Marine turtles
  • Fish

It has been suggested that the oil spills in Kuwait were so devastating that the marine life may not fully recover from the oil spills.

CONCLUSION

The effect of war on humanity is greatly recorded throughout history but the environmental impact of war is not so common. When looking at The Gulf War, it is clear that the environmental impact of war can be just as damaging to the planet and the wildlife as the fighting is to soldiers and innocent people.

The consequences of The Gulf War show that Kuwait may never recover from the damage done to the land and sea. However, it is worth remembering that even though the damage is severe, it could have been a lot worse.

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