To the south of Iraq, sewage flows out of the sewage system into the marshes known as the Biblical Garden of Eden, threatening the already fragile landscape.
In a country where the government is unable to provide adequate assistance, 70% of Iraqi waste is dumped directly into rivers or lakes, according to a United Nations study and expert study.
Jassim al-Asadi, the head of Nature Iraq’s non-governmental organization, told AFP that black water poured into the rock at UNESCO carries “pollution and heavy metals that threaten existing flora and fauna”. there.
Al-Asadi, a former engineer at Iraq’s finance ministry, has left the project to volunteer to save natural resources, which had already been destroyed by dictator Saddam Hussein and threatened by climate change.
The pests “infect people constantly through buffalo”, a swampy area known for its “guemar” cheese made from their milk, he said.
According to Nader Mohssen, a fisherman and farmer born in the Bayay region, “buffalo are forced to walk several kilometers to drink other than water.”
And “around the toilet pipes, a lot of fish are dying”, he added, hitting several rotten fish floating on the water.
Destruction is the most recent threat to one of the world’s largest wetlands.
The rich natural environments, located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, did not escape the wrath of Hussein, who ordered the demolition of the valley in 1991 as punishment for war-torn areas.
The site reduced the waterfalls by half its 1991 area of 15,000 kilometers (5,800 kilometers).
A former civil servant was sentenced to death in 2010 for what the UN called “one of the worst natural disasters in history”, despite his alleged natural death in prison last year.
A few years ago, Mohssen and other mountain dwellers – thousands of families traveling to three rural, southern and struggling areas to earn a living – believed they would see their home prosperous again.
The canals and mudflats built by the Hussein regime were destroyed, the water returned, and with more than 200 species of birds and many species of wildlife, some are on the verge of extinction.
Visitors also – especially Iraqis – also flocked to the area to take a boat and lunch on dried fish.
But today, the stench emanating from sewage pipes keeps people from getting too close.