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The Statesman

Published Date: Jul 5, 2011

MILITARY OPERATIONS AND WAR INVOLVE DEGRADATION OF ECOLOGY AND LAND

Military conflicts and operations bring disastrous repercussions for local, national and global environment which needs to be addressed and documented properly, said Dr. Robina Bhattti, Professor of Global Studies at California State University, Monterey Bay, USA while giving a special lecture on “Ecological foot, boot and hoof pints on Pakistan’s environment” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. Foqia Sadiq Khan, Associate Research Fellow, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) chaired the proceedings and maintained that the useful aspect of today’s lecture is that it was mostly less debated and less thought subject but has its significant impact on ecology and life of human beings.

Dr. Bhatti stressed upon the need for devising environmental policies based upon “National Natural Security” approach while adding that 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.

“Environmental well-being is vital for national security because destroyed land, water, agriculture, health and other natural resources have serious implications for human life,” and she went on saying.

She said that military campaigns consume enormous amounts of fossil and nuclear fuels in planes, ships, and tanks. Citing example she quoted that 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 expressed that these military establishments are clearly a resource consumptive and waste generating endeavors.

Dr. Bhatti raised questions on overwhelming silence over 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 everyday life and for global changes.

“We have destroyed the whole ecological system in military campaigns, killing not just people but also destroying ecological fauna and flora across the world. The whole world 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 atom bomb attack on Hiroshima, napalm and phosphorous bombs attacks in Vietnam, burning of oil wells in Iraq and Kuwait that destroyed environment at unprecedented scale”, she added.

She lamented war against extremism is continued from the last ten years in Pakistan but still there has been no environmental impact study carried out by government of Pakistan. She urged researchers and organizations such as SDPI to come forth and conduct a comprehensive environmental impact assessment study in view of militarization and conflicts in Pakistan. She informed participants that from 2001 to 2010, military spending in South Asia has increased by 50%. – INFN