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Date:  Sun, 25 Apr 1999 11:38:27 +0900
From: Hendrik
To: Multiple recipients of NETSOURCE-L <netsource-l@hz.think.service>
Subject:  [NS] On the Environmental Impact of Modern Warfare (2)

Environment a casualty of NATO bombing

Wednesday, April 21, 1999

By Stephen Schowengerdt

NATO aerial photograph captures destruction at Pristina fuel depot. It will
take Mother Earth a long time to heal herself in the Balkans, in some cases
thousands of years after the NATO bombs stop falling, according to reports
filtering out of the war-torn area.

The environment has always been a casualty of war and this NATO action in
Kosovo and Yugoslavia may be one of the most devastating. Many reports
coming out of the battlefields are obviously tainted by the propaganda and
rhetoric of the side doing the reporting, but the results of the
month-long, day-in-day-out bombing cannot be denied.

A 240-kilogram heavy bomb makes a crater that is 8 meters in diameter and 4
meters deep, according to Vaskrsija Janjic, a member of the Serbian
Academy. A single bombing run creates a crater field that is several tens
of hectares in size, he said, and the destruction caused by the NATO
bombing to date is enormous.

There are no official figures, but according to a CNN report, estimates by
the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments are that in the first 15
days of bombing there were 3,400 air sorties and 6,000 sorties by guided

When a heavy bomb goes off it creates temperatures of around 3,000 degrees
Celsius, destroys all flora and fauna and turns the lower layers of soil
into a useless area that can take anywhere from 1,500 to 7,400 years to
regenerate itself, writes Janjic in a report on the ecological destruction
in the Balkans.

Tomahawk cruise missile is launched from the USS Phillipine Seae early in
the Balkans conflict. The fact that A-10 "Warthog" jets are being used
against targets in Kosovo indicates that depleted-uranium weapons are also
being used, according to the International Action Center, a group that
opposes the use of such weapons.

"DU is used in alloy form in shells to make them penetrate targets better,"
said John Catalinotto, a spokesperson from the Depleted Uranium Education
Project of the International Action Center. It is extremely dense, 1.7
times as dense as lead. "As the shell hits its target, it burns and
releases uranium oxide into the air. The poisonous and radioactive uranium
is most dangerous when inhaled into the body, where it will release
radiation during the life of the person who inhaled it."

The use of Warthogs with DU shells threatens to make a nuclear wasteland of
Kosovo," said Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action

The fear of immediate, life-threatening pollution surfaced April 15 after
the bombing of a petro-chemical complex 10 miles northeast of Belgrade in
Pancevo. The complex contained a plastics factory and an ammonia production
unit. The burning complex released toxics into the atmosphere such as
chlorine, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride monomer.

Earlier attacks on the Galenika pharmaceuticals plant northeast of Belgrade
and a chemical depot near Sremicica also released toxic clouds that spurred
local authorities to warn residents to stay inside and place wet towels
over their faces.

Another important target of the NATO bombers has been Yugoslavia's fuel
storage and production plants.

"When naphtha and its derivatives burn, more than a hundred toxic chemical
compounds that pollute water, air and soil are released," according to Luka
Radoja, a doctor of agronomy and a member of the Programme Council of the
New Green Party of Yugoslavia.

"Just one liter of spilt naphtha and its derivatives can pollute 1 million
liters of water," he said. "The main wells of our rivers are in Kosovo
where toxic and radioactive bombs were used and fuel storages were blown


Source: http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/1999/04/042199/natobomb_2782.asp


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