In a country like Iraq, environmental awareness is still weak and procedures of environmental safety do not apply. The phenomenon of dredging farmlands and causing damage to archaeological sites has become quite familiar. In July 2016, an Al-Monitor report stated that UNESCO would not name Babylon a World Heritage site as long as an oil pipeline crossed the historical site.
In a phone interview with Al-Monitor, Hussein Fleih, Babylon’s director of antiquities and a member of the Babylon provincial council, insisted, “Procedures of moving the pipeline have already started after the Babylon Directorate of Antiquities won a lawsuit against the Ministry of Oil in 2016.”
Following the same pattern of conflict between the projects and the environment, the head of the provincial council of the district of Zubair in south Basra announced on May 18 that environmental pollution caused by extracting oil in the oil fields of Rumaila and Zubair is still ongoing.
On Nov. 3, 2016, a governmental source in Basra said, “There are more than 3,000 agricultural contracts that have been taken over by oil extraction companies.”
Torki al-Ghoneimawi, the vice president of the provincial council of Wasit, spoke to Al-Monitor, as the Bismayah project is located within the administrative borders of his province. He said, “Wasit is among governorates producing oil and gas, and it needs more networks of energy pipelines to feed the projects, especially after the capacity of the Badra gas field increased, reaching 150,000 barrels a day, as well as the gas from the fields of al-Ahdab and the gas imported from Iran.”
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