Accumulating trash and pollution in the city of Kirkuk has raised concerns about the impact on local residents’ health.
“The smoke from oil refineries and private companies has mixed with Kirkuk’s air,” Shkova Muhammad, member of the high council of the Green Kurdistan Association, told Rudaw on August 20.
“You can see trash on every street and corner of the city. Different kinds of fears are emerging,” she added, noting that area is also suffering from high temperatures, drought, and decreased water levels.
“Most of it is organic materials that will decompose into toxic gases and that will affect people’s health,” academic Zainab Baha said, adding that the sight of piled-up trash in the city is “painful.”
Less than 6 percent of Kirkuk is devoted to green spaces, according to the head of Kirkuk’s Environment Department, Mahmoud Fateh, compounding the pollution problem.
The piles of trash pollute the air and may lead to diseases as well as food contamination. Earlier this year, Kirkuk’s municipality said they do not have sufficient funds to provide a garbage disposal service.
The disputed province of Kirkuk receives funds directly from Iraq’s ministries, unlike most other provinces, which are given a specific allocation in the federal budget.
Pollution and insufficient garbage disposal are a problem across Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.