Iraq believes 375 billion dollars will be needed to remedy environmental damage caused by the United States and Britain's use of shells tipped with depleted uranium during the 1991 Gulf War, the official INA news agency reported Thursday.
"The use of depleted uranium has caused pollution of the environment, soil, water and plant life and is at levels 10 times higher than normal," Iraq's UN ambassador Said Hassan was quoted as saying.
"Repairing that damage ... would cost around 375 billion dollars," he said.
Hassan said the United States and Britain had dropped 300 tonnes of depleted uranium shells on Iraq, which "is causing the deaths of 50,000 Iraqi babies a year."
Depleted uranium is used to weight shells rendering them highly effective in piercing tank armour.
Hassan said the radioactive material had caused a doubling of the cancer rate in Iraq, notably in leukemia among infants, congenital deformations and miscarriages that will be "perceptible in several generations to come".
According to an Iraqi report released in June, the allied forces dropped 125,000 tonnes of bombs and missiles on Iraq during the war, with a destructive effect equivalent to six bombs the size of those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II - BAGHDAD (AFP)
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