On military bases in Iraq, plastic, paper, aerosol cans, Styrofoam plates, food waste, batteries, digital equipment and hygiene products fall under one category: waste. It is simply dumped at the edge of the base, then burned at night, irritating soldiers’ lungs. Untreated wastewater is also haphazardly disposed of and gradually finds its way into Iraq’s waterways, which can pose health risks for Americans on the base and Iraqis who live nearby.
Soldiers at a base in Balad have accused one [waste disposal contractor] of making them ill from burning toxic materials like aircraft fuel and arsenic, and medical waste, including amputated limbs.
our counterinsurgency policy of securing the populace and providing access to essential services can’t be separated from environmental considerations. It’s vital that the people we live among are getting clean water, that farmers are able to grow their crops, that communities aren’t buried under trash.