Deadly aftermath

Published: Sunday 15 August 1999

according to a report compiled by the United Nations ( un), toxic waste emitted from industrial facilities hit by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (nato ) air strikes on Yugoslavia have seriously contaminated the water and soil in surrounding areas and may threaten the health of local people.

The report is based on research conducted by the un Environment Programme and the un Commission on Human Settlement across Yugoslavia from May 16-27. It has also warned that the contamination may spread to other countries.

The 12-chapter report assesses the impact of the air strikes on the water system and air and the environmental implications on food. The report says that "81 civilian industrial facilities have been either attacked or destroyed in the bombings by nato forces". The facilities include oil refineries, petrochemical plants, chemical fertiliser factories and other industrial facilities. The report points out that polychlorinated bipheniles, ethylene dichloride, phosgene, nitrogen oxides, heavy metals and various other toxic substances have been released from the facilities. The town of Pancevo, northeast of Belgrade, was one of the most seriously contaminated areas, according to the report.

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