The A-10 Thunderbolt II GAU-8 gattling gun uses the 30 mm PGU-14/B armour-piercing incendiary round which contains depleted uranium. Picture: 123RF/bisprop
The A-10 Thunderbolt II GAU-8 gattling gun uses the 30 mm PGU-14/B armour-piercing incendiary round which contains depleted uranium. Picture: 123RF/bisprop

The US military is indeed the world’s biggest polluter, and it thus carries the greatest blame for global warming.  (“‘Connect-the-dots’ between weapons proliferation and the environment,” September 6). 

In addition, the US is the largest proliferator of radioactive material in the form of depleted uranium. In the last three decades the US has used depleted uranium munitions in countries such as Kuwait, Iraq, Serbia, Syria and Afghanistan, thereby contaminating the air, soil and water of these countries with hundreds of tonnes of pulverised depleted uranium. 

Medical research has shown that once particles of depleted uranium are ingested by humans, the impairment or failure of the normal functioning of organs such the kidneys, lungs, heart, liver and brain will result. In Afghanistan and Iraq maternal and neonatal exposure to depleted uranium has led to a high prevalence of birth defects. 

For thousands of years depleted uranium will be carried by water and wind well beyond the boundaries where it was first used, and thus continue to produce more casualties. Yet the media has largely failed to cover this very serious hazard faced by people in the Balkans, Central Asia and the Middle East.

The use of depleted uranium munitions should be banned without delay. However, efforts by the UN to bring about such a prohibition have so far been obstructed mainly by the biggest user of such munitions, the US. 

Gunvant Govindjee 
Johannesburg 

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