Iraq blames depleted uranium for Kuwait fish catastrophe
Depleted uranium from tons of bombs dropped by the United States on Iraq are to blame for the death of millions of fish in Kuwaiti waters, Iraq's official press claimed on Wednesday, September 5.
"Radiation which has spread across certain Gulf countries is beginning to have grave consequences on the environment," Al-Jumhuriya newspaper said. It accused Kuwaiti leaders of "knowingly trying to hide the truth".
Three weeks after tons of dead fish began washing up along the Kuwaiti coast, the head of Kuwait's Environment Public Authority Mohammad Al-Sarawi said Tuesday streptococcus bacteria was the cause.
But Jumhuriya charged that "Kuwaiti officials want to hide the true scope of the pollution from this radiation as part of the media and political campaign orchestrated by the FBI that depleted uranium has no long term dangers."
Babel newspaper, run by President Saddam Hussein's elder son Uday, for its part said that "American aircraft carriers in the Gulf use nuclear energy and have dangerous effects not only on humans but also marine life."
"Breeding of the streptococcus bacteria, which was found in all samples of dead fish, was the reason," Sarawi told Kuwait's official KUNA news agency on Tuesday night. "The test results for the moment rule out chemical pollution or any poisoning," he said.
Two thousand tons of dead fish have been washed up on the Kuwaiti coast in the last three weeks with more to come. A first official theory was that great summer heat had warmed the shallow Gulf water too much for the fish.
The Gulf Daily News reported Tuesday that Bahrain had slapped a ban on imports of all fish from Kuwait and Iran after tests showed some to be contaminated with cholera bacteria. –(AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)