According to the Ukrainian government, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has cost the environment 36 billion euros in damage.
Ruslan Strilets, the environment minister for Ukraine, stated during a session at the European Union Parliament in Strasbourg, France, that the cost of war-related air pollution is close to 25 billion euros, while the cost of soil damage is more than 11 billion euros.
Environmental Damage in Ukraine
Since the invasion started in February, Ukraine has documented 2,000 instances of environmental damage, and 20% of the nation’s protected regions are still in danger of being destroyed. According to Strilets, the battle has so far resulted in 31 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions, which is more than New Zealand produces each year, according to Reuters.
According to a statement from the environment ministry, 350,000 cubic metres of demolition rubbish have been generated in Kharkiv, a city that was just liberated from Russian control. According to Strilets, the postwar restoration effort might produce 79 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases—more than Greece emits each year. He made this statement to the EU Parliament.
Ukraine has been monitoring the environmental harm caused by the invasion since the start of the conflict. More than 37,000 fires were discovered by satellites in the first four months, the bulk of which affected forests and other natural areas.
According to the Ukraine Nature Conservation Group (UNCG), a non-profit organisation made up of activists and scientists in the nation, many of these fires were sparked by shelling, and a third were found in protected regions.
But there’s more to it than just trees on fire caused by weapons. There have been substantial amounts of leftover military waste that contain chemicals that potentially contaminate groundwater.
Damage to the Steppe Grasslands
The steppe grasslands in southern and eastern Ukraine worry scientists. Even before the invasion, only 3% of this unique environment was still intact due to conversion to farming. The UNGC’s plant biologists now think that the war may have entirely wiped off 20 native steppe species.