Looking beyond state and even national borders, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos has penned an opinion piece for The Hill entitled, Let’s Stop Putin from Creating a Contaminated, Uninhabitable Ukraine. Seggos, who has conducted work on the ground in Ukraine, notes the tragedy that the war has caused not only to the places where people live, but also to the environment. He points to millions of tons of debris releasing toxic residue that eventually seeps into water and soil and to abandoned coal mines filling with polluted groundwater, which impacts drinking water and releases methane to the surface.
“As the war continues in its second year, environmental destruction has become as much an element of Vladimir Putin’s war plan as the murder of civilians,” Seggos writes. “A contaminated, uninhabitable Ukraine would be that much more vulnerable to conquest. The international community must reckon with this environmental crisis and the global challenges it will present long after the guns fall silent.”