A serious environmental damage was experienced in 1991 Gulf war. The world largest oil spill, estimated 8 million barrels. The gulf waters in coastal areas of IRAN, KUWAIT, and SAUDI ARABIA were fouled. The Saudi Arabia had the worst damage. Because the animals and plants of the seafloor are the basis of the food chain, damage to the shoreline consequences for the whole shallow- water ecosystem.Over770 km of coastline from southern Kuwait to Abu Ali Island were smothered with oil and tar,erasing most of the local plant and animal communities.
For the Iraqis, burning of oils was ethically justified because the United States and its allies had attacked Iraq and was attempting to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Because Iraq believed that Kuwait was actually a part of Iraq, they justified their attack on the country. And because they believe they have an ethical right to defend themselves, they justified the burning of wells as a necessary tactic to protect and defend Iraqi forces in Kuwait.
However, the when the Iraqi's released crude petroleum into the Persian Gulf, the results were much more tragic for the environment and wildlife, and much less simple to ethically justify. Days after the oil was released, a ten-mile band of crude oil stretched across the Gulf near Kuwait that was described as "so thick in places that the water heaved like mud
rich breeding ground for fish, crabs, oysters and shrimp and accounts for about 20 percent of the nation's total commercial seafood production.Many people are suspicious of seafood from the Gulf
The prospect of killing or injuring animals has never had a deterrent effect on those making decisions about war. A few recent international agreements, reached in efforts to mitigate the impact of war on the environment, have not translated into significant restrictions on military activity, let alone explicit measures to protect animals in time of war.
The environmental and economic hardships imposed on Kuwait, and to the Gulf Region in general, both during and after the Gulf War will be endured for many years to come.The destruction caused by the oil fires and the oil spills were devastating, and at times were fatal. Not only did humans suffer the consequences of the conflict, but the ecosystem and the atmosphere were also innocent victims.
Enviornmental pollution and society
PRESENTED TO: PROF. NAMITA GUPTA
SUBMITTED BY: DEEPAK YADAV
THE 1991 GULF WAR OIL
An oil spill is the release of
a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the
environment, especially marine areas, due to
human activity, and is a form of pollution. The
term is usually applied to marine oil
spills, where oil is released into
the ocean or coastal waters, but spills may also
occur on land.
•The Gulf War oil spill was one of the largest oil spills in
history, resulting from the Gulf War in 1991. The apparent
strategic goal was to foil a potential landing by US Marines.
•The immediate reports from Baghdad said that American air
strikes had caused a discharge of oil from two tankers.
Coalition forces determined the main source of oil to be the
Sea Island terminal in Kuwait.
•On January 26, three US F-117 fighter bombers destroyed
pipelines to prevent further spillage into the Persian Gulf.
In January 1991, Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi forces
fighting in the Gulf War committed acts of what some have
termed "environmental terrorism" by burning oil wells and
releasing crude oil into the Persian Gulf, fouling the water
and devastating wildlife.
According to reports, the Iraqis set the oil wells on fire to
provide a massive smoke shield that was meant to confuse
military guidance systems and block the view of military
Initial estimates placed the size of the spill at 10 million
barrels, but later and apparently more accurate figures
ranged between 4 and 6 million barrels .
Combined, the five previous major spills within the
Gulf accounted for 4.1 million barrels, equivalent to the
minimum estimated amount released during the Gulf
War. Oil continued to be discharged into the Persian
Gulf until at least late May, 1991.
1. The Animal Victims of the Gulf War
EFFECTS ON WILDLIFE:
Seabirds can dive into oil
slicks thinking they are
Oil makes birds unable
to regulate body
Leads to hyperthermia
•Heavily furred marine
mammals exposed to oil spills are
affected in similar ways.
•Oil coats the fur of sea
otters and seals, reducing its
insulating effect, hypothermia.
•Oil can also blind an
animal, leaving it defenceless.
The ingestion of oil causes
dehydration and impairs the
•Animals can be poisoned, and
may die from oil entering the
lungs or liver.
MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR SAUDI FISHERIES INDUSTRY
• Large oil spills can kill fish
directly by suffocation and can
also destroy the surrounding
environment where fish lay eggs
and young fish develop
resulting in lack of fishes
•Crude oil contains many
compounds that are toxic to
animals including fish. Such
fishes if consumed by humans
can result in various diseases
•Oil is semi-volatile, which
means that it can evaporate into
the air and create a heavy vapour
that stays near the ground - in
the human breathing zone.
•When winds whip up oily sea
water, the spray contains tiny
droplets, which are small enough
to be inhaled deep into the
•People may suffer from
nausea, vomiting, headaches, an
d difficulty breathing.
•Utilitarianism is the idea that the best course is the one that provides the most
happiness for the most people. Ideally this is a great idea, but it falls
apart, because different things make different people happy. This makes it
abusable and dangerous in the long term.
•Principles which hold for everybody will prescribe or recommend the same for
everybody (same obligations, same rights, same virtues and so on). Advocates of
universal principles see this as a merit: they see equality of requirement and
entitlement as ethically important.
•Although hundreds of thousands of animals have died as a
consequence of human war making, no comprehensive effort
has ever been made, to assess the numbers or types of animal
casualties during or after past conflicts.
•Recently a branch of ethics known as the applied ethics was
developed which consists of the analysis of
specific, controversial moral issues such as abortion, animal
rights, or euthanasia. In recent years applied ethical issues
have been subdivided into convenient groups such as
medical ethics, business ethics, environmental
ethics, and sexual ethics.
•Virtue ethics is a broad term for theories that emphasize the
role of character and virtue in moral philosophy rather than
either doing one’s duty or acting in order to bring about good
•A branch of virtue ethics, the ethics of care, was proposed
predominately by feminist thinkers. It challenges the idea that
ethics should focus solely on justice and autonomy; it argues
that more feminine traits, such as caring and nurturing,
should also be considered.
•Thus in the case here the war fares of iraq should have given
thought to the long term aspects of there action of spilling oil
and not only about the war.
•Leaders must be ethical in their own decisions and actions.
•Had Saddam Hussein been an ethical leader he would not have
carried out the war on Kuwait.
•Ethical leadership could have been an answer to this.
WRONG DECISION MAKING: ETHICALLY AND
•The environmental impacts of the Gulf War Crisis were felt
immediately at the onset of the Iraqi invasion. Humans began
suffering on day one of the invasion and the atrocities
towards humans continued with the duration of the war.
Thousands were either killed, wounded, raped, or taken
prisoner before the war terminated.
•The other casualty of this war was the planet. The land was
abused greatly from transportation of heavy artillery and
movement of troops across the desert.
It may be inferred that economic frustration was at the root
of the Gulf Conflict in the first place. Saddam Hussein felt
smothered, and unable to find funding for his economy to
repay the other Arab states for Iraq's previous war with Iran.
Some Arab rich states were unwilling to provide help to Iraq
again, and many were complaining about Iraq's inability to
repay its debts. The only way for Iraq to obtain revenue was
through oil exports, but other OPEC nations would not
allow increases in quotas.
Methods for cleaning up include:
•BIOREMEDIATION: use of microorganismsor biological
agents to break down or remove oil.
•BIOREMEDIATION ACCELERATOR: By over spraying
sheen with bioremediation accelerator, sheen is
eliminated within minutes.
•Controlled burning can effectively reduce the amount of
oil in water, if done properly.
•DISPERSANTS: can be used to dissipate oil slicks.
A dispersant is either a non-surface
active polymer or a surface-active
substance added to a suspension, usually
a colloid, to improve the separation
of particles and to prevent settling or clumping.
•DREDGING: for oils dispersed with detergents
and other oils denser than water.
•SKIMMING: Requires calm waters at all times
during the process.
•Solidifying: Solidifiers are composed of
dry hydrophobic polymers that both
adsorb and absorb.