As a result of the Iraqi occupation and the armed conflict in Kuwait 6 to 8 million barrels of crude oil were spilled into the marine environment, and about 2 to 3 million barrels of crude oil, burnt and unburnt, were being emitted daily during about 300 days into the environment from the burning or gushing oil wells. International efforts of UN agencies and other organizations from, the region and outside started immediately to assess the extent of the environmental pollution and to mitigate the adverse effects. In addition to the public health concerns of the air pollution caused by the burning wells, long-term environmental risk should be considered as a result of the oil spill into the marine and coastal environment, and the atmospheric fall-out, e.g., acid rain and petroleum related compounds associated with airborne particulates, in the marine and terrestrial areas. Particularly serious contamination of the desert ecosystem occurred around the damaged oilfields in Kuwait. The deposited crude oil and airborne particulates in the terrestrial areas may also affect the ground-water aquifer. Air quality, marine and desert soil pollution surveys provided data for a preliminary assessment and helped the formulation of mitigation and rehabilitation programmes, however, implementation of an integrated survey programme will ensure the final impact assessment on the environment, particularly on the marine and subsurface water resources.

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