Campaigning for a ban on Depleted Uranium weapons
Letter to the Times
Oliver August should be applauded for his investigation into dumped toxic waste in Iraq (America leaves Iraq a toxic legacy of dumped hazardous materials, 14th June). Dangerous chemicals and metals disposed of inappropriately cause the worrying injuries and illnesses he describes.
However, what was missing in Mr August’s reporting was any mention of the hundreds of tonnes of Depleted Uranium ammunition coalition forces used in action, but never cleared up.
In 2005 the UNEP published a report into environmental “hot spots” in Iraq, citing military scrap metal yards as places of concern. Destroyed tanks and armour would arrive, still contaminated with Depleted Uranium armour piercing shell fragments.
Public health concerns have followed DU use, where a cancer epidemic in Basra and an out break of birth defects in Fallujah have occurred. DU ammunition were used by American and British forces in both cities during fierce urban warfare.
Although the EU and the UN have pressed nation states to ban the use of depleted uranium in conventional weaponry, both the US and the UK still arm our forces with this highly toxic and mildly radioactive ammunition.
Our governments should take the honourable decision, like they did over land mines and cluster munitions, and ban these weapons that cause so much suffering for innocent civilians in post-conflict environments.
International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, Manchester