Donbass: A Ticking Toxic Time Bomb

Wim Zwijnenburg

As the fighting between the Ukrainian army and Russia-backed forces re-ignited at the end of January 2017, various news reports highlighted the shelling of industrial sites. Calls by the United Nations and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) warned of a looming environmental disaster if one of those locations storing hazardous chemicals was hit, and could lead to a severe health crisis. This article aims to use open-source and satellite data to identify several sites at risk of shelling, and highlight the environmental health risks associated with such a looming disaster. One fatal mortar or shell could set in motion a series of chemical incidents, which would have a long-lasting impact on the health and well-being of the Donbas’ civilians caught in the crossfires.