Eco threats from war

Given the current hostilities in Syria and regional tension it is worth remembering the impact on biodiversity of recent regional clashes.

(1): During the 2006 invasion of Lebanon by the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) to attack Hezbollah, Israeli aerial bombing of an oil-fuelled power plant at Jiyyeh, just south of Beirut, unleashed a huge oil slick that drifted north along the coast destroying marine life.

Meanwhile on the Israeli-Lebanese border the intense rocketry unleashed by Hezbollah created a fire-storm so great that it burned down an estimated 500,000 trees. For more information please see:

(2): In 2008-9 the IDF Operation Cast Lead/Gaza War attacked Hamas in Gaza which historically has been one of the world’s greatest bird ‘hotspots’. Wadi Gaza is a wetland area just south of Gaza City and has suffered not only from the political instability but also human pollution with large amounts of raw sewage pumped through the wadi and into the Mediterranean.

Just as Gaza has always been of great strategic importance, being located at East/West – North/South axis, the same applies for birds: the Wadi Gaza area is a site of significant importance to migrating water birds, being located on a major migration route.

A survey found that on average 250,000 white storks, 70,000 white pelicans and 500,000 raptors migrate across this region from Europe to Africa in autumn and that about a million raptors and 450,000 white storks transit the area from Africa to Europe in Spring.
For more information please see: Jasper Humphreys, The Marjan Centre

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