Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chemical Warfare Is to Hit Afghanistan

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chemical Warfare Is to Hit Afghanistan

Article excerpt

It has been reported that General Dan McNeill, the new commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, has authorised the aerial spraying of poppy fields. This policy will have disastrous consequences for all Afghanis who live in or near sprayed areas.

No money is being provided to compensate farmers for their financial loss. The British have sensibly proposed that the poppies be purchased from the farmers and used to produce medicinal morphine. This proposal has been overruled by the Americans.

A similar fumigation policy has been tried in Colombia for the last seven years. The harm that the spray has done to those who live close to sprayed areas is well documented in the book, Chemical Warfare in Colombia, by Hugh O'Shaughnessy and Sue Branford.

The spray used to kill the poppies will contain glyphosate. This is the same chemical that turns a sixth of Britain's arable fields from a pleasant green to a dull orange in May. When glyphosate is sprayed from an aeroplane it is certain to drift. This means that crops in nearby fields may die and livestock may be harmed.

Humans exposed to the spray will suffer a range of adverse health effects, including, arguably, damage to their chromosomes. I doubt if a local warning will be given before the spraying starts.

The 4,000 British troops in the Helmand province have been seeking to win the confidence of the Afghanis. The implementation of this spraying policy will wreck any progress they have made in this direction. The policy will be the best recruiting agent the Taliban could hope for.

JOHN WILSON, Kingston Park, Newcastle upon Tyne

Story of a ship

REGARDING John D Nisbet's request for information on HMS Kay (Information appeal on HMS Kay, Voice of the North, February 16):

She was, in fact, called HMS Sir Kay, pennant number T241, launched on October 26, 1942 at Hall, Russell & Co Ltd of Aberdeen, yard number 768, and commissioned on February 8, 1943.

She was a mine-sweeping trawler, her measurements were 125ft 4in x 25ft 7in x 13ft 9in and she was 295 grt.

She was sold to Mercantile, decommissioned, in 1946 and became Star Of The North for Walker's S.F. Ltd. of Aberdeen. In 1956 she was sold to Crohn Ltd of Leith and renamed Robert Crohn. She was scrapped at Grangemouth in December 1961.

Hope this helps.

KEVIN BLAIR, Hebburn, South Tyneside

The nuclear world has changed

IAM tiring of reading pronouncements of yet another "expert" on nuclear safety (Evidence against the nuclear energy case, Voice of the North, February 16).

Countryside lovers object to wind-power, naturalists object to wave power and scientists worry about carbon emission. Everyone expects to get electricity and gas, and of course oil, without a thought for the exposure which already exists with supply highly dependant on imports subject to political control.

Technology is constantly advancing, with manufacturing and inspection controls way in advance of any that existed with earlier power plants. There are any number of willing industrial and national enterprises throughout the world who have been unable to demonstrate the ideal solution. The real issue is that status quo is not an option.

I worked in the power/nuclear industry for 30 years and feel safer with nuclear power than I do with international security, but I am of an age unlikely to benefit from any new nuclear power. We appoint a Government to resolve these difficulties and to take action on our behalf. They have access to the best technical advice in the country and if they have decided that the way forward is nuclear ( as have other nations ( then let them get started.

It is one weapon against global warming and at least a foreign power cannot turn off the supply.

RO BURTON, St Peter's Basin, Newcastle

Wind power can be a source of much noise

AT the request of the Department of Trade and Industry, a Wind Turbine Noise Working Group is currently investigating Amplitude Modulation of Aerodynamic Noise, a low frequency whooshing sound caused by air passing over the turbine blades. …

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