Kuwait's northern marine area is considered to be the receiving basin for the influx of sediments and associated pollutants from the Shatt Al-Arb estuary. In recent years, Iraq has undertaken to drain the southern marshes, which acted as a sink for the associated pollutants. This loss of marshes is expected to have far reaching consequences on the ecology of the northern Gulf. Bottom sediments from the area likely to be impacted by the draining of the marshes were studied for a variety of parameters. The results showed that petroleum-related pollutants (Ni, V, TPH, PAH and n-alkanes) were, generally, much higher in the southern part of the study area which may be due to the tanker traffic. Spotty higher levels of petroleum were encountered in the northern area, which were of recent origin and may have been the result of the draining of marshes. Chlorinated pesticides and PCBs were not detected in any of the samples. In general, there were indications of the negative impact of the draining of the marshes, however, long-term and more detailed studies are needed.

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