Twenty years and major environmental damages later, the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) is finally trying to clean up the toxic oil ‘lakes’ left behind from the Gulf War.
There are more than 2,400 ‘lakes’ filled with dirty oil and concentrated salt residues mixed with sand over 100 square kilometers of northern Kuwait.
“The oil lakes formed after fire crews used seawater to douse hundreds of torched oil wells. Their contents have seeped into the ground, polluting freshwater aquifers and killing off flora and fauna in the delicate desert ecosystem. Mines and other unexploded ordinance lurk beneath the toxic sludge to booby-trap unwary clean-up crews.
Kuwait National Focal Point (KNFP), a committee established four years ago to supervise the execution of environmental projects in the emirate, tendered a similar contract in 2007, but failed to award it.
Redha al Hasan, the programme manager of KNFP, has called the situation “a nightmare”.
“The oil lakes that were formed ranged from a few centimetres to several metres in depth and represented over 60 million barrels of crude. In total, 660 million barrels of crude oil were released to the environment resulting in 40 million tonnes of contaminated soil. No other petroleum release in history came close to equalling the magnitude of this event,” he and several other Kuwaiti and international scientists wrote in a 1995 environmental assessment.”
I’m happy that they are finally doing something about this major issue, even though it’s twenty years too late.
Read the full story [Here].