By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet held its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, Adil Abd Al-Mahdi, at which it discussed a series of recommendations by the Ministerial Committee for Energy regarding a number of strategic projects aimed at increasing Iraq’s oil production and exporting capacities.

The Cabinet approved the proposed Iraq-Jordan oil pipeline, and the construction of offshore oil exporting facilities in Iraq’s territorial waters in the Gulf.

it also discussed a number of infrastructure and service projects and approved a proposal from the Ministry of Construction and Housing for a pedestrian bridge in the Gherai’at area in Baghdad.

The Cabinet also approved several measures to encourage Iraqi, Arab and international investment in Iraq, including further action to cut red tape and streamline procedures.

The Cabinet approved a draft law on the accession by the Republic of Iraq to the 1997 Protocol to amend the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (1973) as modified by the 1978 Protocol.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s vast oil wealth once paid for some of the best health services in the Middle East.

But decades of conflict and political unrest have led to, what the government admits, a crisis in hospitals.

Things are particularly bad in Basra province where people have long complained of government neglect.

Around 70 children are being treated for cancer in Basra Children’s Hospital.

Experts say pollution from surrounding oilfields is one of the reasons why Basra has the highest rate of cancer in Iraq.

Al Jazeera‘s Charles Stratford reports:

By John Lee.

A report from Bellingcat claims to have identified the source of a mysterious black sludge in Mosul Lake.

Analysis of open source satellite images suggest a combination of oil waste water, caused by either oil dumping or flooding of polluted rivers by the winter rains.

Click here to read the full report.

(Source: Bellingcat)

WHO and Ministry of Health investigate the massive death of fish in southern governorates of Iraq

Laboratory tests conducted on water samples in the reference lab in Amman, Jordan on the cause of death of freshwater fish in the Euphrates River in Iraq have revealed the contamination of water with high content of coliforms, heavy metals, and high concentration of ammonia.

Health experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Environment in Iraq say that while these materials are toxic to fish, they pose no health threat to humans.

Testing on dead fish has revealed serious issues that warranted WHO to conduct a second investigation related to probable viral infection of fish causing the death of thousands in the river. Results of the second test are due next week.

The laboratory investigations came in response to a request to WHO by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment to assess the likely effects of the fish death on humans and the environment.

As early as 2 November this year, thousands of tonnes of fish have died in the Euphrates River causing significant loss to fish farms and production in the southern part of Iraq especially in Babel province, 85 kilometers south of Baghdad.

WHO continues to work with its MOH counterparts to develop appropriate preventive measures to effectively mitigate and respond to future incidents of this nature.

(Source: UN)

By Glada Lahn and Nouar Shamout, for Chatham House.

Violent protests erupted in Basra this summer in response to the deterioration of public services. At the centre of the unrest is a water supply crisis which Iraq can only solve with regional and international cooperation.

In August, frustrations over crippled public services, drought and unemployment in Al-Basra governorate boiled over.

The acute cause was a water contamination crisis. By the end of October, hospital admissions of those suffering from poisoning exceeded 100,000 according to health officials.

Crops and animals in the rural areas have been severely affected by lack of water and current levels of salinity, with thousands migrating to Basra city.

Click here to read the full story.

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Doctors in the southern Iraqi city of Basra are worried that diseases like cholera and diarrhoea might spread through the city’s unuseable water supply.

Basra’s canals are blocked by piles of rubbish and its sanitation system has collapsed.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has warned that nearly 280,000 children could be affected by diarrhoea and rashes.

Al Jazeera‘s Rob Matheson reports:

By John Lee.

The Islamic State group (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) has deliberately opened an oil pipe to let the oil flow into the Tigris River near Qayara (45 km south of Mosul) to pollute its water.

BasNews reports that the pipe was opened early on Monday in retaliation for the defeats that Daesh has in the area.

Qayara airbase was liberated from Daesh on July 9th in preparation for an assault on Mosul.

(Source: BasNews)

By John Lee.

The head of Iran’s Department of the Environment, Masoumeh Ebtekar, and Iraq’s Minister of the Environment, Ibrahim Turki al-Juburi (Qutaiba al-Jibouri), have met to search for solutions to the environmental issues affecting the countries.

According to the report from BasNews, the Ministers discussed the dust storms that blanket the region, particulate pollution, and the associated health problems they cause.

They called on the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program, Achim Steiner, to establish a permanent fund to address these twin concerns, and agreed to greater collaboration to tackle the issues.

Al-Juburi asked for the creation of specialist workshops where Iran could educate Iraqi environmentalists.

Recognition was given to attempts to register the Hour-al Hawizeh Wetland as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the establishment of a green belt around Karbala, and a plan to clean up the Arvand river.

The meeting was concluded with a proposal to create a ‘Peace and Friendship Park’ on the Iraq – Iran border.

(Source: BasNews)

By Madeleine White.

This is an extract from an article originally published by Nina Iraq, and is reproduced here with permission.

Iraq is polluted. In fact the significant levels of pollution in Iraq are such an open secret that people simply accept that this is the way it is, along with the cancers and health problems it causes.

Much of this pollution is the result of decades of war and unrest; with military waste and deforestation representing just two (of many) contributory factors. However, that is not the end of the story.

Many studies and field surveys cite Iraq as one of the ‘worst examples’ of pollution in the world. However policy makers are slowly realizing that, tackling what is widely considered to be an almost impossible challenge can be eased by harnessing the private sector.

The incentive? Real income for SME’s and communities, with intertwined social and economic values creating the dynamism needed to tackle issues head on. In their ‘Building Competitive Green Industries Report’ the World Bank estimates that the clean technology opportunity available to developing world SMEs over the next decade is worth the $1.6 trillion.

To ensure Iraq takes full advantage of this opportunity, driving economic growth through environmental action, we at Nina have taken it upon ourselves to create a map. Building awareness of need and so stimulating local innovation and business growth is the first step to a ‘Pollution Solution’ for Iraq.

Please click here to view the full article.