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Environmental Cost of the Russia-Ukraine War 

environmental cost of Russia Ukraine war

Environmental Cost of the Russia-Ukraine War: Oil and gas prices have reached their highest levels in almost a decade as a result of Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine, which has also forced numerous nations to reevaluate their energy supplies. Russia is the world’s top exporter of oil to international markets, and its natural gas powers the European economy, according to the International Energy Agency. Along with imposing economic sanctions on Russia, the European Union, the United States, and other parties have also made plans to gradually wean themselves off of that nation’s fossil fuels. But despite the fact that Russia is bombing Ukraine, its oil and gas are still being exported to Western countries that have rejected the invasion.

Lack of access to safe water- 

An estimated 1.4 million Ukrainians lack access to safe water as a result of damage to the country’s water delivery system. Only 4.6 million additional people have reliable access to clean water. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, shelling seriously harmed Ukraine’s water delivery infrastructure, which runs from the Dnipro River to the city of Mykolaiv. In June, Ukraine began checking health records for cholera, a bacterial infection that may be lethal and is brought on by ingesting contaminated food or water.

Impact on Natural Resources- 

According to estimates from Ukraine, Russian military activity has had an impact on 900 of the country’s protected natural regions. The impacts of conflict are present in almost 30% of Ukraine’s protected areas, totaling 1.2 million hectares. The OECD also recorded that, “forests have been devastated by flames from shelling and through overuse by the Russian forces, many of which are littered with destroyed or abandoned military vehicles.”

Risks posed by ammunition- 

Russia has attacked gas and oil storage facilities, polluting the atmosphere and releasing carbon dioxide with their explosions. According to the Ukrainian environmental advocacy group Center for Environmental Initiatives Ecoaction, the materials used within the rockets that both sides are using can damage the environment. According to Eco action, artillery rocket explosions can release a variety of toxic compounds, such as nitrogen oxides and hydrogen cyanide vapor, which can both contribute to acid rain. Experts are worried about the health effects of exposure to heavy metals, as well as to toxic gases and particulates from explosions, fires, and building collapses, on top of the heartbreaking toll of thousands of lives lost in the conflict. As the pollutants are transported downstream and downwind, scientists believe that the possible health effects may extend beyond Ukraine’s borders.

Ukraine is home to 35% of Europe’s biodiversity, along with being the breadbasket of the world. Clearly, the current ecosystems in Ukraine are threatened by military action, which in turn can destroy ecosystems, cause forest fires, and affect the quality of water, and overall wellbeing of Ukraine’s citizens.  Considering the damage to rivers and the air, it is highly likely that the impacts of the war would not just be limited to Ukraine but would also cross borders, threatening the entire region. 

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