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ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF WARFARE Consumption of resources Toxic chemicals Munitions dangers Nuclear contamination

The worlds armed forces are the number-one numberpolluters on Earth

In the Cold War, the U.S. and Soviet militaries rarely battled each other. Yet they killed thousands of their own soldiers and civilians through environmental contamination.

Huge amounts of energy (8% in U.S.) Large percentage of iron and steel, and other metals Nearly half of Peripherys debt is from importing of arms

Military spending
ite tates ssia Ja a Britai ra ce Germa y a i ra ia Italy i a Iraq, Ira , i ya, yria, . Korea

ilitary s e i g ( illio s of ollars) 0 100 200 300 400

Our global priorities

ilitary ergy efficie cy oil erosio e e a le e ergy lea ater

ci rai Glo al armi g Deforestatio zo e e letio La mi es

ct al s e i g ( illio s of ollars) ee e s e i g ( illio s of ollars)






Chemical weapons use Chemical weapons disposal

Military toxic wastes Agent Orange

Chemical weapons use

Gas attacks in World War I

Iran, Iraq used gas in 1980-88 war; Iraq gassed Kurdish minority

Chemical weapons use

Moscow gas raid kills 121 hostages, 2002 U.S. experiments on military personnel and civilians, 1950s-60s

Sarin attack in Tokyo subway, 1995

Agent Orange defoliant

20 million gallons of herbicides sprayed in Vietnam War to deny Cover to guerrillas Also used by So. Africa

Effects of Agent Orange (dioxin)

Limited compensation to veterans for cancers, diabetes, birth defects

U.S. veterans Vietnamese civilians and veterans

Chemical releases in Gulf War?

Detections of chemicals in air Bombing of Iraqi biochemical sites, 1991

Moral responsibilties of both sides?

Chemical Bunkers In Iraq

Detonation of Iraqi chemical/biological storage after end of Gulf War Possible exposure to troops?

Kuwait oil well fires, 1991

Set by withdrawing Iraqi forces; also spilled oil into Persian Gulf

Draining of southern Iraq marshes, 1992

Area was haven for Marsh Arabs, Shia rebels

Bombing civilian chemical plants

Toxic cloud after NATO bombing of Pancevo plant in Yugoslavia, 1999

Chemical weapons testing and disposal

Alabama protest against chemical arms incineration

6000 sheep killed in Utah nerve gas test, 1968

Toxic wastes left on bases

U.S. military bases in the Philippines, Panama, Alaska

Soviet bases in Eastern Europe

Badger Army Ammunition Plant, Wisconsin

Propellant plant, 1940s-70s. Groundwater poisoned with nitrates.

Ironies of abandoned toxic bases

Many military bases are Superfund toxic clean-up sites. Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Colorado was poisoned underground, but the surface is a wildlife haven.


Land mines Cluster bombs Depleted Uranium

Gulf War Syndrome Bombing ranges Flight ranges

Land mines
Old land mines explode every 22 minutes, claiming about 26,000 victims a year. Cambodia



De-Mining Operations
1998 ban on plastic land mines Schoolyard in Laos

Cluster bombs

Cluster bombs
Bomblets in Laos

Nis, Yugoslavia market bombing, 1999

Depleted Uranium (DU)

Dense munitions to penetrate tanks, armor. Made from low-level reprocessing waste.

Depleted Uranium (DU)

Releases radioactivity when explodes or burns, leaves behind dust

Huge cancer rates in southern Iraq (387 tons of DU left behind)

DU tested on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. Would cost $4 billion to clean Indiana base.

Depleted Uranium (DU)

82% of U.S combat troops in Iraq came in contact with DU dust

DU also used in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan Metal of Dishonor video

Gulf War Syndrome

Agent Orange of the 1990s A variety of illnesses reported by military personnel

Increase in personnel cancers, 1991-97

Gulf War Syndrome

CAUSES? Depleted Uranium? Chemical releases?
Children of U.S. troops affected

Oil well fires?

Iraqi civilians also affected: leukemia victim in Basra hospital.

Pesticides? A combination?

Vieques naval bombing range, Puerto Rico

Explosions,.noise, affect on fishing, use of DU and chemical testing.

Hidden undetonated explosives

Opposition to Vieques bombing

Rallies in San Juan and New York Fishermen blockade Navy ships, 1970s

Christian camp after stray bomb kills guard, 1999. Navy agrees to gradual withdrawal.

Low-level jet flights

Practice for flying under radar. Effect on cattle, wildlife, horses, human stress

riven out of Europe. Went to Nevada, Canada, etc.

Low-level flights in Canada

Innu Indians in Labrador protest disruption of their hunting culture


Production, Use, Testing, Waste

Uranium mining
Began during Manhattan Project 1940s

Deaths of Navajo, Dene uranium miners

Nuclear weapons production cycle

Spent fuel from civilian energy industry can be used for bombs

Military nuclear waste at Hanford, Washington

Leaking tanks contaminated Columbia River

Los Alamos Nuclear Labs, New Mexico

Fires in 2000 endangered Los Alamos, Hanford

Atomic bombing of Japan

220,000 died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki 280,000 more exposed to Radiation (Hibakusha)

Nuclear Club

Original: U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China Spread since 1970s: Israel, India, Pakistan, possibly North Korea Disarmed in 1990s: Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakstan, South Africa

Weapons-grade uranium stockpiles

Atomic Veterans and Downwinders

17,000 cancer cases in the U.S. alone

Nuclear fallout from Nevada Test Site

Reassuring government leaflet

Atmospheric nuclear tests halted in 1963; continued underground

Strontium-90 in milk

U.S. tests in the Pacific

75% increase in cesium in islanders

Evacuation of Islanders

Soviet tests in Kazakhstan

Genetic defects near Semey (Semipalatinsk)

Kazakhs protest

British nuclear tests in Australia

Effects on Aborigines

French tests in Polynesia

Also in Algeria in 1950s

French bombing of Greenpeace ship in New Zealand, 1985

Chinese nuclear tests in Xinjiang

In Muslim Uigur minority region after 1964

1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban signed; but some small tests continue

India and Pakistan nuclear tests

Indian leader in front of H-Bomb mural

Pakistani crowds celebrate first test, 1998

Military nuclear accidents

roken arrow Lost nuclear weapons: 43+ Soviet, 7 U.S.
Plane crashes, sub sinkings, silo explosions Some scattered radiation

Lost submarine reactors: 6 Soviet, 2 U.S.

Nuclear plants as targets of war

Israel bombs Iraqs Osirak reactor construction, 1981. Iraq launches missile at Israels Dimona nuclear laboratory, 1991.

U.S. bombs Iraqi operating reactors, 1991

Reactors as possible terrorist targets?

Kyshtym waste disaster, 1957


Explosion at Soviet weapons factory forces evacuation of over 10,000 people in Ural Mts. Area size of Rhode Island still uninhabited; thousands of cancers reported

Military Toxics Project Center for Defense Information Council for a Livable World U.S. military environmental agencies Gulf War Veterans Resource Links Chemical Weapons Working Group