Published Date: Jul 5, 2011
MILITARIES PRODUCE ?GREATEST AMOUNT OF HAZARDOUS WASTE?
Dr. Robina Bhatti, professor of Global Studies at California State University, USA, emphasised on the need for devising environmental policies based on what she called “national natural security.”
According to her, militaries produce the greatest amount of hazardous waste in the world and are directly involved in destruction of environment, chemical contamination of ecosystems, toxification, devastation of landscapes, outbreak of diseases and depletion of natural resources.
She was delivering a lecture on ‘Ecological Foot, Boot and Hoof Prints on Pakistan’s Environment’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute here on Monday.
Dr. Robina Bhatti said that military establishments are clearly a resource consumptive and waste generating endeavours, adding that military conflicts and operations bring disastrous consequences for local, national and global environment, which needs to be tackled and documented properly. Environmental well-being is vital for national security because destroyed land, water, agriculture, health and other natural resources have serious implications for human life, she added.
She said that military campaigns consume enormous amounts of fossil and nuclear fuels in airplanes, ships and tanks. Citing an example, she said that the US military consumes at least 1.3 billion gallons of oil annually in the Middle East alone which is more than the annual consumption of Bangladesh.
She wondered over overwhelming silence on impacts of ongoing war against terrorism on Pakistan’s ecosystem. She said Pakistan is in the midst of a protracted human and ecological trauma and it is necessary to study and document environmental impacts to estimate the material and non-material consequences for Pakistan’s every day life and for global changes.
The players of war on terror, she said, have destroyed the whole ecological system in military campaigns, killing not just people but also destroying ecological flora and fauna across the world, which has been converted into some kind of laboratory to experiment weapons of mass destruction and wagging wars to gain utmost control, power and authority.
Some horrible examples of these incidents include the atom bomb attack on Hiroshima, napalm and phosphorous bombs raids in Vietnam and burning of oil wells in Iraq and Kuwait that destroyed environment at an unprecedented scale.
Dr. Robina Bhatti regretted that war against extremism is continued for the last ten years in Pakistan but still there had been no environmental impact assessment (EIA) by the government of Pakistan. She urged researchers and organisations like SDPI to come forth and conduct a comprehensive environmental impact assessment study in view of militarisation and conflicts in Pakistan. She told the participants that from 2001 to 2010, military spending in South Asia increased by 50%.
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