Wasted money, global concern over Iraq’s persistent gas flaring

The World Bank says Iraq's burning of associated gas is an environmental catastrophe that could erase progress made worldwide.
Girls in al-Sumoud, north of Basra city, stand outside their home and the flares of the Nahran Omar oil field. (ALI ABU IRAQ/Iraq Oil Report)

BASRA - In the 30 years that he's lived in al-Sumoud, near the flaming towers that burn off gas produced from Basra's Nahran Omar oil field, Jumhour Qadir Agha has suffered some of the worst effects of an oil-rich but underdeveloped nation: irritated and infected skin, allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems.

As hydrocarbons and chemicals are incinerated and dispersed into the atmosphere, the flares burn so close to homes here that the air is noticeably warmer than in Basra city, 25 miles to the south.

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