Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Dangers Of Burn Pits In Afghanistan

A burn pit smolders near Camp Leatherneck, a U.S. Marine base in Afghanistan's Helmand province. Courtesy SIGAR

Toxic Trash Threatens Marines In Afghanistan, Government Report Shows -- NBC

Military leaders may be endangering the health of 13,500 Marines and civilians at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan by burning toxic trash in an open-air pit while choosing not to safely dispose of the waste inside four new, on-base incinerators that cost $11.5 million, says a government report released Thursday.

An inspector general, authorized by Congress to oversee reconstruction efforts and spending in Afghanistan, sent an “alert letter” Thursday to the head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Lloyd Austin, revealing that the smoldering crater violates Pentagon regulations and should be doused “as quickly as possible.”

“There are health concerns associated with breathing the smoke emissions from open-air burning,” wrote John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). “The toxic smoke from burning solid waste each day increases the long-term health risks for camp personnel, including reduced lung function and exacerbated chronic illnesses, ranging from asthma to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

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More News On The Dangers Of Burn Pits In Afghanistan

Burn pit at U.S. Marine base in Afghanistan poses health risk -inspector -- Reuters
Military burn pits at Afghanistan base may pose health risk to troops, report says -- FOX News/AP
Report shows open-air burn pits still used at bases -- USA Today
IG report: Camp Leatherneck burn pit may endanger health -- Air Force Times
More Waste Uncovered at US Base in Afghanistan -- Voice of America
Report: Health Alert Issued in Afghanistan Over Waste Disposal -- Washington Free Beacon

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