"Collateral Damage: The Environmental Cost of the Ukraine War"

"As the war in Ukraine drags on, scientists are increasingly concerned about the environmental consequences of the destruction. From forests ignited by shelling to wrecked factories spewing pollution to precarious nuclear plants, the long-term impacts could be profound."

"What happens to the environment when a large, industrialized country is consumed by war? Ukraine is finding out. While concern about human lives remains paramount, Russia’s war on that country’s environment matters. The fate of Ukraine after the conflict is over is likely to depend on the survival of its natural resources as well as on its human-made infrastructure – on its forests, rivers, and wildlife, as well as its roads, power plants, and cities.

Some 30 percent of the country’s protected areas, covering 3 million acres, have been ­­bombed, polluted, burned, or hit by military maneuvers, according to its Ministry of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources. Some of the most intense fighting of the war has been in forests along the Donets River in the east.

Fires have raged across Ukraine, which is almost the size of Texas. Satellite monitors spotted more than 37,000 fires in the first four months of the invasion, affecting approximately a quarter-million acres of forests and other natural ecosystems. Most were started by shelling, and a third were in protected areas, says the Ukraine Nature Conservation Group (UNCG), a non-profit coalition of the country’s scientists and activists."

Fred Pearce reports for Yale Environment 360 August 29, 2022.

Source: YaleE360, 09/01/2022