Burn Pits – Where There’s Smoke, There’s . . .
One Woman’s Opinion – Part 2
By – Sheri de Grom
The Office of the Inspector General reported July 11, 2013, that trash burning continues at one of the largest U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.
I reported on this tragedy in my blog of June 9, 2013, and you may read it here.
Camp Leatherneck is home to about 13,500 troops and civilians and is located in the Helmand providence of Afghanistan.
The American taxpayer has spent $11.5 million installing four incinerators to safely dispose of solid waste. Burn pits are still utilized at Camp Leatherneck, placing all in harm’s way.
In my previous post, I wrote of the contractor, KBR, Inc., of Houston, Texas, formerly a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halliburton. KBR, Inc. argued their responsibility was to continue the standard of application the military provided. The over-site contractor has allowed KBR, Inc. to continue daily operation using this philosophy as if nothing had changed.
Unfortunately, nothing has changed, with the exception of more troops being diagnosed with the chronic debilitating illness known as Chronic Multisymptom Illness (CMI).
You’ll find the environmental safety requirements of KBR, Inc. here.
The Inspector General found all of the solid waste now burning in the pits could be
processed by the camp’s existing incinerators if they operated eighteen hours a day. The incinerators could also eliminate the need for a $1.1 million contract for hauling solid waste off the base.
Camp Leatherneck is not the only military base with burn pit problems. Burn pits have been used universally from the beginning of the Iraq war and continue today.
A leaked memo revealed an eight-year study based on a preventative medicine team’s findings on the dangers of the air quality at Bagram Airfield. The leaked memo stated that as late as May 22, 2012, their measurement revealed contaminants exceeding healthy standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A report by McClatchy Washington Bureau reported open air burning is used only to dispose of non-hazardous material and is monitored closely to prevent risks to those who live and work on the bases.
I’m delighted to have received notification from four service members after I posted my initial blog on the Burn Pits. Additional information has been verified by the soldiers serving on the ground in Afghanistan as well as two soldiers currently being evaluated for diseases known to be caused by working and breathing the smoke produced by the burn pits.
I’ve learned demilitarization operations at Bagram continue in ways the American public will never hear about. Our soldiers are being told to cut up armored vehicles into certain size pieces that don’t allow the enemy to reassemble the vehicle. The process involves using plasma cutters which is toxic to inhale, the personnel doing the cutting need to wear a re-breather or they will have serious injury or possibly death.
During the investigation on the use of the burn pits I considered many angles of why our government continues to endanger so many service members and department of defense employees along with contractors. I definitely hadn’t considered conspiracy until one of the service members raised the issue.
Now that we’ve lived through so many useless days and nights with a congress and president that cannot work together on anything except shutting down the government, perhaps we do need to look at the possibility of a conspiracy theory.
We continue to ask our service members to not only be in harm’s way with the war but they also must breathe contaminated air.
Please join me for Part 3 of Burn Pits – Where There’s Smoke, There’s . . . My research continues.
Photo credits: (1) DOD (2) Wikipedia