Ecology

An expert from the United States spoke about the size and consequences of environmental damage in Ukraine

In Ukraine, Russian aggression, among other things, causes environmental damage to soil, air and water, the consequences and size of which cannot be quantified while the war continues.

This was stated by Erica Weintal, professor of environmental and public policy at the Duke School of the environment Nicholas, USA, reports Duke Today.

Image by ejaugsburg from Pixabay

She noted that some effects can have long-term effects.

Currently, it is not possible to collect water and soil samples, so it is difficult to measure the full extent of environmental damage.

“However, there are now many different organizations documenting environmental damage that will provide a roadmap for a full environmental assessment when the war ends,” Weintal said.

This Is How Mindovkol tracks attacks on industrial facilities, forest fires, water pollution and risks for Ukrainian nuclear power plants. A number of Ukrainian and international non-governmental organizations also use satellite images and geospatial tools to track attacks on civilian infrastructure and the environment.

The consequences of environmental destruction during the war will have a number of consequences for Ukrainians in the short and medium term.

Short-term prospects include lack of access to clean water, adequate sanitation, energy and health care. And the destruction of agricultural land carries economic costs and a threat to food security also in the medium term.

“The lack of clean water combined with the lack of medical facilities can lead to the spread of infectious and aquatic diseases. The war also disrupts vaccination campaigns, which are even more necessary during a global pandemic,” the ecologist notes.

In addition, the destruction of fuel facilities causes air pollution, which can affect more vulnerable groups of the population, such as children and the elderly.

The war also prevents students from continuing their studies, and Ukraine will need more environmental scientists and policy experts to repair the damage.

The effects of environmental damage can last for decades.

“Many people forget that Ukraine and Russia have been at war since 2014, and since then the population in eastern Ukraine has been intermittently left without water,” Vaintal said.

She added that much will depend on how the war ends and on the desire of the international community to help Ukraine rebuild. This will require a comprehensive environmental assessment at the end of the war to understand the damage caused to the natural environment, in particular water and soil quality, as well as waste management and pollution as a result of the destruction of industrial facilities.

However, the recovery may allow not only Ukraine, but also Europe to unlearn fossil fuels and decarbonize its economy.


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