Over the last two years we worked with local partners, used satellite imagery and open-source investigation to identify the specific problems that affects public health and the environment people depend on. Here's a small thread with what we found in NE #Syria 1/x
The main focus was on the Hasakah and to a smaller extend the Raqqa governorate, due to presence of our partners and own access. More analysis on environmental issues in the SDF controlled Deir ez Zor is in the making 2/x
Communities keep flagging public health concerns over unsafe landfills, solid waste dumping and burning. We identified over 20 large solid waste dumps, the combined size of 420 football fields. Chemicals from leachate contaminates groundwater and burning worsens air pollution 3/x
Oil revenues keeps the region of NE #Syria afloat, but comes with a heavy toxic prize. There are 3 main problems: Oil waste, leaks and makeshift refining that are polluting air, ground water and exposes people and eco-systems to a range of pollutants. 4/x
Oil exploitation is producing waste that is either dumped into local creeks or stored in large waste ponds all over the region. We found 530 leaks at extraction points, and oil waste dumps at the major refineries and oil storage facilities that have been ongoing for years 5/x
Next up is makeshift oil refining, a widespread practice in the early years of the conflict. Thousands of small burners spread over 690 clusters were identified. Civilians, including many children, worked in toxic conditions. Roughly 200 refineries are still operational 6/x
The oil production creates large volumes of bitumen, asphalt left-overs. This is stored in dozens of large and smaller unsafe open-air waste pits, posing environmental risks by contaminating ground water and can be found all over the region with satellite imagery. 7/x
The conflict had a serious impact on water and irrigation infrastructure which continues to pose a huge problem for access to clean water for millions today. Shut-down of water stations, bombed pipelines and dumping of waste degraded water quality and impacts public health 8/x
Being #Syria's breadbasket, climate-induced droughts are increasing, affecting harvest yields in Hasakah and Raqqa. Agricultural areas are more vulnerable to wildfires, that are deliberately or accidentally started. These issues will continue to pose #foodsecurity challenges 9/x
Yet there are glimmers of hope, as communities and activists raise their voices, demand change and take up initiatives to improve the situation. This needs support!

Read more in our recommendations on environment, peace and security in #Syria ⬇️ 10/END paxforpeace.nl/news/overview/…

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More from @wammezz

20 Jul
A quick update on the oil spill at #Aden in the south of #Yemen. Today's satellite imagery by @planet shows the ongoing oil on the surface while the salvage operation of the sunken oil vessel is ongoing. Image
#PT And here's radar image of the port of #Aden using @sentinel_hub Sentinel-1 SAR with an Oil Slick Custom script and Planet to show the spill. Note the image shows both water surface roughness and the spill itself, so it's not all oil in yellow.. Image
The Port of Aden has seen it's share of oil spills form ships, as can be seen on historic imagery via Google Earth Image
Read 4 tweets
19 Jul
Lack of investments, expertise and equipment around oil production is resulting in the widespread use of unprotected open-air waste pits in NE #Syria. Here's on example the Jabisah facility in Hasakah. The bitumen could seep into local surface and groundwater sources Image
More oil waste pits here south of the US air strip at Rmeilan in NE #Syria Image
Some larger oil waste reservoirs at the Shudaydah oil facility near Iraq's border Image
Read 4 tweets
18 Jul
A small oil tanker at the coast of #Yemen sank and leaked oil washed upon the shores of the Al Buriqah district, hosting its larger oil terminals. Frequents spills keep occurring on Yemen's coast, from bombed vessels to leaking pipelines, polluting its marine #environment Image
#PT An oil spoil is already visible on this @sentinel_hub image from early July 2021 at the Aden oil terminal, near two smaller vessels cc @TankerTrackers #OOTT Image
Using @planet labs imagery, we can see the spill at the small tanker more up close on July 11, 2021, as the ship is sinking. Image
Read 7 tweets
2 Apr
Important new systematic review out on health effects #depleteduranium munitions in #Iraq by @ghiaub. Since its first use 1991, the use of DU spiked concerns among civilians and veterans, yet proper research has always been lacking. A short thread 1/x gh.bmj.com/content/6/2/e0…
First of all, lack of transparency by the US in DU use in 1991 and 2003 in #Iraq hindered identifying contaminated areas, clean-up operations and health monitoring of exposed populations. In 2014, we got the first set through and Dutch FOIA 2/x theguardian.com/world/2014/jun…
In meantime, all kinds of faulty research popped up, making outrageous claims over radioactive contamination by sketchy 'scientists' or denied full-out any effects, mostly by US DoD linked researchers, fearing accountability. Here's a good overview 3/x wise-uranium.org/pdf/dumyths.pdf
Read 10 tweets
1 Apr
In its new Protection of Civilians Handbook @NATO also expands on #environmental protection considerations. A welcome development following last years #UNSC debates and side-events on environmental, peace and security. A short thread: 1/x
The introduction explains that PoC also includes protection of " the natural environment, as well as necessary public services linked to civilian critical infrastructure, such as potable water, sanitation, and electricity". 2/x natolibguides.info/Environment
In the planning phase of NATO operations, environmental protection considerations should be part of the analysis, including a baseline study and and environmental impact assessment to ensure minimization and mitigation of environmental impacts 3/x
Read 7 tweets
20 Feb
Amazing #earthobservation art: The Empty Quarter in the desert of #Oman
Read 6 tweets

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