Iraq’s Environment Ministry Faces Big Problems and a Small Budget

Iraq’s first environment ministry, facing a host of daunting ecological problems and a list of 35 priority projects that would cost more than $200 million, has been allotted a 2004 budget of … $1 million. A report from the United Nations Environment Program presents a litany of environmental challenges facing the war-ravaged country: rivers polluted by crude-oil leaks; widespread cholera, malaria, typhoid, and diarrhea due to contaminated water; post-war looting of hazardous materials from government, industrial, and scientific facilities; and depleted uranium from weapons used by U.S. forces in the war, to name but a few. The ministry is seeking international support and attempting to establish a department that would coordinate with other fledgling agencies on environmental problems.