The dangers of oil drilling in the Middle East

A smoke stack emits a plume of fire

November 29, 2023 – Oil drilling in Middle Eastern countries is releasing toxic air pollutants through the process of gas flaring, or the burning of waste gas, according to experts.

A November 28 BBC article shared the results of an investigation by the news outlet, which showed that flaring is spreading air pollution for hundreds of miles across the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait. The pollutants include fine particulates (PM2.5) that can lead to serious conditions such as strokes, cancer, and asthma.

The article featured the research of Barrak Alahmad, a research fellow in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He studied air pollution in Kuwait, finding that 42% comes from sources such as oil-fired power plants.

“This is man-made air pollution that we can regulate, we can reduce, we can in fact eliminate,” Alahmad said.

Read the BBC article: Toxic gas putting millions at risk in Middle East, BBC finds

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