Iraq’s marsh dwellers denounce oil plans

The marshes of southern Iraq are the staging ground for a contentious battle between residents and oil stakeholders over the fate of the fragile and oil-rich ecosystem.
Residents of southern Iraq's marshes worry that oil exploration will force them from their homes. (ALI ABU IRAQ/Iraq Oil Report)

BASRA - Residents of southern Iraq's marshes are decrying the encroachment of oil development projects in the region. Their livelihood depends on a vast, wetland ecosystem that has shrunk considerably in recent decades, and now they claim that their concerns are being cast aside in favor of others’ financial gain.

"Many have already had to abandon their homes," said Alaa al-Badran, a member of the Arab Marshes Revival Committee, who claims that some areas of the marshes have already been polluted by oil production. "It's as if the government see oil as more precious than people."

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