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Protecting the environment from the direct and reverberating effects of explosive weapons is a vital component of civilian protection.

With talks on a political declaration on the civilian harm caused by use of explosive weapons in populated areas nearing completion later this year, Linsey Cottrell and Kendra Dupuy argue that it’s critical that their environmental impact is also addressed.

Kobani 960
Kobani, Syria, 2015. Half the town was destroyed as the US deployed massive air strikes in support of Kurdish fighters seeking to recapture the town from Islamic State fighters. Photo: Stefan Mako, Flickr.
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Mosul, Iraq 2017, where an estimated 7-8 million tonnes of debris was created by the intensive use of explosive weapons. Photo: EU/ECHO/Peter Biro.
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The direct effects on water infrastructure of the use of EWIPA including cratering, which can damage water and waste pipes, contaminating soils and groundwater. Photo: Robin Lloyd/ECHO.
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Civilians face short and long-term health impacts from use of EWIPA such as from heavy smoke and particulates caused damage to an oil-fired power plant in Gaza, 2014. Photo: UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan.