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The impact of modern day warfare on the environment has becoming increasingly negative, especially over the past few decades. Experts have called this ecocide, or the killing of the environment. It has affected endangered species and humans alike.

Orange was sprayed in Vietnam in order to defoliate the jungles, and oil wells in Iraq were burned due to the extreme measures used during war. Habitat destruction and deforestation has been caused by the advancements in military machinery and explosives. For example, 35% of Cambodia’s intact forests have been destroyed by years of civil war. The issues are usually made worse by the fact that environmental protections are put on the back burner during times of extreme conflict.

Depleted uranium, which has long been used mostly by the United States for conventional munitions, missiles, and defensive military armor, has the ability to penetrate enemy tanks and other targets much easier than weapons made with other materials. The risk of exposure to depleted uranium to public health has been downplayed, including by inhalation of fine dust particles of this material. It is even suspected that soldiers and civilians who have been exposed to high levels may be at an increased risk for developing lung cancer and kidney damage as a result.

Another environmental issue that has happened as a result of war is the spreading of uranium oxide by way of two hundred stolen plastic barrels that contained the material. They were washed out and used improperly, such as for storing water, tomatoes, and cooking oil in them, as well as being put up for sale to other villages for transporting milk to different regions just because they need money. The material also had seeped into the ground and dispersed through the air. The Iraq national nuclear inspector predicted that potentially more than a thousand people could die from leukemia.

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Written by Bruce from DayJobNuker