To whom it may concern,
At a public meeting hosted by the United Nations Association of Australia and Greenhouse Action Australia, Dr Noel Brown, Regional Director, North America, United Nations Environment Programme, stated that the United Nations should look clearly at the consequences of the decision to support armed conflict in the Gulf.
Brown added that the UN had set a precedent with its decision, a decision that was taken “behind closed doors” contravening the integrity of its charter, and should set a second precedent by establishing a commission to investigate and assess the extent of the damage done, who is to be held responsible and who will bear the financial cost.
According to Brown, the war in the Gulf came in under budget. Brown stated that the UN will recommend that the remaining funds be directed to the environmental rehabilitation of the Gulf.
Brown had recently visited the Gulf and discovered that the extent of the damage may not be fully realized for years to come. The UN has counted to date 560 oil well fires. Further reports indicate a further 100 wells ablaze. The Gulf waters prior to the war were already 45 times more polluted than any other body of water in the world. It is a heavily salinated shallow body of water feeding into some of the most sensitive ecosystems of the Middle East.
With soot being reported on the slopes of the Himalayas, black rain in Turkey, clouds of dust raised by heavy artillery fire adrift in the stratosphere, it is clear, concluded Brown, that the world must overcome its pathological desire to destroy what precious little we have left to sustain life on Earth.
Andrew Garton, Melbourne, 1991.
Letter to the Editor, GreenLeft Weekly, Issue 10, 1991.