The war in Ukraine is certainly a humanitarian tragedy destined to remain in history. Thousands of victims and refugees are now forced to leave their homes to save themselves. And it is precisely for them that we hope that everything can end as soon as possible.
If, however, we wanted to analyze all the consequences of the war, after the most critical humanitarian and health consequences, it becomes important to also talk about the environmental damage that it is causing.
The Conflict and Environment Observatory monitored and estimated the environmental consequences caused by the war in Ukraine. A series of data and hypotheses that testify how the war is not only a very serious attack on humanity, but also on the Planet itself.
Biodiversity at risk
Despite the fact that Ukraine covers only 6% of the European surface, within its territory you can find over 70 thousand species of animals and plants (of which 1400 are protected). That together make up 35% of total biodiversity in Europe. Ecosystems today at risk due to the devastation of conflict and the indirect consequences it causes, as specified in the following paragraphs.
The ongoing war is worsening the already poor air quality conditions. Ukraine is a country where there are many industrial sites that if they were to be hit by the bombings would release numerous quantities of toxic substances into the air. Also to be taken into account are the numerous explosions caused by bombs and projectiles that throw into the air a large amount of heavy metals, asbestos, cement and other potentially toxic compounds that thanks to the action of the wind can be transported for thousands of kilometers, even to our homes.
The Donbass area is famous for its wealth of coal, the mines in fact wind for miles in the subsoil of the region. Numerous bombings are causing them to sink releasing chemicals that risk contaminating water resources. The Yunkom coal mine, specifically, is flooding dangerously due to water infiltration. With the potential consequence of spilling 500 cubic meters of contaminated and radioactive water into the aquifers.
Even the search for stops
The Russian invasion of Ukraine also forced the cancellation of a major scientific mission to study and monitor permafrost in the Arctic. A mission that would have allowed to collect important data to understand how the climate is changing. And all this without taking into account how
extremely energy-intensive the war is and capable of consuming countless quantities of fossil fuels with consequent negatively impacting emissions.
20 years of environmental policy cancelled
The war between Russia and Ukraine could lead to the definitive cessation of gas exports from Russia to the European Union. a blow to our economy as a result of governments that have never invested enough in alternative energy sources such as renewables. A situation that could even lead to the rekindling of numerous coal-fired power plants scattered throughout our peninsula, effectively erasing years of environmental policy. Already slow to progress.
To posterity the arduous sentence
According to Doug Weir, director of conflict and environment Observatory, it is likely that the health consequences related to environmental pollution of the conflict will be felt after a long time. So they end up being underestimated.
As Weir points out, “After the conflicts, things are not settled practically anywhere.”
Once the war is over, in fact, another different one will begin to face. The next government that will take over will also have to deal with the huge expenses necessary for the reclamation of water resources and soil now heavily polluted. Which in all likelihood, because of the large sum needed to intervene, will be totally ignored. With further heavy consequences for the health of the Ukrainian population.