Gaza conflict has caused major environmental damage, UN says

The conflict in Gaza has created unprecedented soil, water and air pollution in the region, destroying sanitation systems and leaving tons of debris from explosive devices, a United Nations report on the environmental impact of the war says.

The war between Israel and Hamas has swiftly reversed limited progress in improving the region’s water desalination and wastewater treatment facilities, restoring the Wadi Gaza coastal wetland, and investments in solar power installations, according to a preliminary assessment from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Explosive weapons have generated some 39 million tons of debris, the report says. Each square meter of the Gaza Strip is now littered with more than 107 kilograms of debris. That is more than five times the debris generated during the battle for Mosul, Iraq, in 2017, the report says.

“All of this is deeply harming people’s health, food security and Gaza’s resilience,” says UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

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