Environment Minister warns of serious detriments of random oil refining practices by terrorists in eastern region

Damascus, SANA – Ministry of State for Environment Affairs warned of the many serious detriments of random oil refining carried out by terrorist organizations in the country’s eastern region.

Speaking to SANA in a statement on Sunday, Minister Nazira Sarkis warned of a real environmental crisis unfolding that would reflect badly on all environmental ingredients and human health for decades to come.

She clarified that oil refining operations are being carried out in primitive and random manners with the techniques to preserve energy resources totally neglected, which what would cause the oil wells to become dysfunctional after a while and go out of service due to the voids in earth strata that would form as a result of not pumping water or gas to replace the amounts of withdrawn oil.

This, she added, would eventually debilitate the land and make it more susceptible to earthquakes in the long term.

Sarkis referred to the particular threat of environmental pollution due to these random practices, citing the emission of toxic substances and harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen oxides and many and fumes, in addition to radioactive pollution caused by radon and radium and several long-lived radioactive elements whose harmful effect could last for hundreds of years.

Water pollution is another threat the Minister warned of, explaining that once radioactive and toxic materials take their way into soil, it means also water will be affected, which would make large swathes not fit for use and turn them into a source of pollution. This, in turn, would lead to diminishing natural resources, including animals and plants.

“The most dangerous disaster of all, however, would be the risks to human health when receiving these toxic materials,” said Sarkis, warning of possible cases of cancer, poisoning, skin rash, mutation that could face the locals for decades.

The Minister said the Ministry and the other government bodies concerned are closely following this issue and have set up plans to rehabilitate the polluted areas and work for finding alternative sources of energy and water.

Manar al-Frieh/H.Said

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