Environmental Management

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 557–562 | Cite as

Environmental impact of the Gulf War: An integrated preliminary assessment

  • Hosny Khordagui
  • Dhari Al-Ajmi
Environmental Auditing


This article provides an objective integrated environmental impact assessment of the Gulf War consequences. The environmental damage was evaluated and found to be significantly exaggerated by the media and speculators. The total amount of burned crude oil was calculated to be 52.5 million metric tons. Most air pollution field measurements were comparable to those found in Western cities. The health impact associated with such exposure was found to be minimal. The total amount of oil released into the marine environment ranged between 2 and 4 million barrels, much less than the early estimation of 12–14 million barrels. The marine environment is expected to recover much faster than earlier anticipations. Unlike water and air, soil pollution is likely to persist for some years to come.

Key words

Gulf War Environmental impact Oil pollution Air pollution Kuwait fires Soil pollution 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Al-Marafie, A. (1989. Assessment of oil and natural gas resources in Kuwait.Energy 14:1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Briggs, G. A. 1975. Plume rise predictions. Pages 59–111in Lectures on air pollution and environmental impact analysis. American Meteorological Society, Boston, October.Google Scholar
  3. Hobbs, P. V. 1991. Summary of the University of Washington’s preliminary findings on the effects of smoke from the Kuwait oil fires on the atmosphere. Atmospheric Sciences Department, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, July.Google Scholar
  4. Khordagui, H. K. 1991. Comments on current environmental events in Kuwait.Journal of Environmental Management 15(4):455.Google Scholar
  5. Lameloise, P., G. Thibaut, R. Masse, J. Lafuma, A. Person, and M. Pasquereau. 1991. Measurement campaign of the regional mobile laboratory for measurement of air quality in Kuwait, 27 March to 4 April. Final report prepared by AIRPARIF, Paris, May 27.Google Scholar
  6. Legg, C. 1991. An investigation of the Arabian Gulf oil slick using NOAA AVHRR imagery. Report to National Remote Sensing Center, London, UK, January.Google Scholar
  7. Literathy, P. 1991. Activities and findings: Progress achieved by the UN Interagency Task Team in Kuwait. Report prepared for the regional organization for the protection of the marine environment in Kuwait, July.Google Scholar
  8. Morel, G., O. Samhan, L. Moulin, P. Literathy, and K. Matrouk. 1989. Adaptation and development of analytical methodologies for the determination of hydrocarbons-derived compounds in environmental samples (phase II). Report EES-116/KISR-2915, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.Google Scholar
  9. Penner, D. 1986. Smoke plume distribution above large scale fires; implications for simulations of nuclear winter.Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology 25:1434–1444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ransohoff, R. 1989. Target area studies, Vol. 4, Material inventories and smoke properties for US target areas. Pacific-Sierra Research Corporation Report 1842, Los Angeles, California.Google Scholar
  11. Small, R. D. 1991. Environmental impact of damage to Kuwait oil facilities. Report prepared for Defence Nuclear Agency, Alexandria, Virginia, by Pacific-Sierra Research Corporation, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  12. UK Meteorological Office. 1991a. Report, Hamburg Group.Nature, 351:367–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. UK Meteorological Office. 1991b. Meteorological research flight C-130 aircraft, observations in March 1991 of the oil smoke plume from Kuwait. Preliminary report.Google Scholar
  14. US Interagency Air Assessment Team in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. 1991. Report on air sampling and monitoring as of 27 April.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hosny Khordagui
    • 1
  • Dhari Al-Ajmi
    • 2
  1. 1.Desert and Marine Sciences Research InstituteUnited Arab Emirates UniversityAl-AinUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.Environmental and Earth Sciences DivisionKuwait Institute for Scientific ResearchSafatKuwait

Personalised recommendations