Lack of efficient strategic environmental planning in post-war Iraq causes significant environmental deterioration in Iraq.

An Iraqi man searches for recyclable material on mounds of garbage at a dump yard in Karbala, Iraq September 23, 2020.
An Iraqi man searches for recyclable material on mounds of garbage at a dump yard in Karbala, Iraq September 23, 2020. (Reuters)

When Iraq announced that the war against Daesh had been won three years ago, the country’s residents hoped it would mark the beginning of a better future for those who had managed to survive. But Iraq’s people aren’t the only victims. Its environment has become a one, too - of long conflicts ranging from its war with Kuwait to the US invasion. The turmoil left the country's infrastructure in shatters, normalising corruption in government ranks. With the outbreak of Daesh insurgency in recent years, it couldn't fix its governance issues.

Daesh is now making a comeback but the county has not yet healed the damage it created. It has destroyed a significant part of the water infrastructure under its control and reduced agricultural production by 40 percent, according to IOM. Daesh has also burnt oil wells and torched sulphur stockpiles, causing acute health impacts for thousands of civilians around the affected areas.

Water and waste management are other problems bringing Iraq on the brink of an environmental crisis. The polluted and salty water left 120,000 people sick in the southern province of Basra, once known as the “Venice of the Middle East.” Lack of fresh water flow due to dam projects in neighbouring countries, as well as outdated filtration systems, are what is causing the problem of salinity. 

Man stands in Shatt al-Arab River with flames rising from oil refinery pipes in the background in Basra, Iraq July 23, 2020.
Man stands in Shatt al-Arab River with flames rising from oil refinery pipes in the background in Basra, Iraq July 23, 2020. (Reuters)
A motorcyclist rides along side the garbage floating on water canal running from the Euphrates River in Karbala, Iraq September 23, 2020.
A motorcyclist rides along side the garbage floating on water canal running from the Euphrates River in Karbala, Iraq September 23, 2020. (Reuters)
General view of dead Palm trees on a farm in Baghdad, Iraq, September 21, 2020.
General view of dead Palm trees on a farm in Baghdad, Iraq, September 21, 2020. (Reuters)
A garbage picker collects recyclable materials among garbage collected from an area which used to be a landfill and will be diverted into a green park, in Zakho, district of Dohuk, Iraq January 22, 2020.
A garbage picker collects recyclable materials among garbage collected from an area which used to be a landfill and will be diverted into a green park, in Zakho, district of Dohuk, Iraq January 22, 2020. (Reuters)
Volunteers plant saplings at a place which used to be a landfill, with the aim of diverting it into a garden, in Zakho, district of Dohuk, Iraq January 22, 2020. Picture taken January 22, 2020.
Volunteers plant saplings at a place which used to be a landfill, with the aim of diverting it into a garden, in Zakho, district of Dohuk, Iraq January 22, 2020. Picture taken January 22, 2020. (Reuters)
Source: TRT World