Determination of the Remnant Environmental Impacts Resulting from the Chemical Bombing of Halabja, Kurdistan- Iraq


  • Jean Simonis University of Zululand, Hydrology, South Africa
  • Diary Ali Mohammed Al-Manmi Department of Geology, University of Sulaimani, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq
  • Aram Dawood Abbas Department of Geography, University of Sulaimani, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq
  • Loffie Schoeman NGO Global Relief, South Africa



Aquifer, Chemical warfare agents (CWA), Halabja, Kurdistan, Soil and water contamination


16 March of every year marked the anniversary of the chemical gas attack on the City of Halabja, Kurdistan, Iraq, and its nearby villages. In the process, 5000 people reportedly died from the attack. Many more were wounded and the event left nearly 60 000 people displaced. A perceived consequence of the chemical bombing of Halabja City was the environmental pollution of the soil and water. A recent questionnaire completed by the population of Halabja City indicated that 35% believed that water pollution was still an issue, and 55% thought that soil pollution posed a high risk.
In 2016, were requested by the Halabja City governor to investigate the situation. And to lay to rest the perception and concerns of soil and water still being contaminated by the events that happened on that day in March 1988. A total of 8 soil and 18 water samples were collected, Soil samples were collected from the
surface and as close as possible to bomb sites and craters, in contrast, water samples were collected from seven springs, ten water wells, and one surface streams downslope as close as possible to the bombed areas. The samples were analyzed for chemical warfare agents which are Arsenic, Cyanide, Fluoride, soluble  orthophosphate, Nitrate, Phosphorous, Sulphate, and Sulphur. The results indicated no negative contamination remaining in both water and soil. The geology and hydrogeology in the area played an important role in helping the chemical warfare agents (CWA) to degrade during the past 28 years. Most of the CWA used are
water- soluble and solubility increases when the agents are either hydrolyzed or oxidized. The hydrolysis products have equal toxicity to the parent chemicals, posing a similar threat to the environment. In contrast, the intact chemicals can be adsorbed onto sediment, where they can be stored for a longer time.


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How to Cite

Determination of the Remnant Environmental Impacts Resulting from the Chemical Bombing of Halabja, Kurdistan- Iraq. (2019). Iraqi Journal of Science, 60(7), 1507-1520.

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