PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A soldier manning a military checkpoint in the Kuwaiti Greater al Burgan oil field. During the Gulf War of 1991, the Iraqi troops occupying Kuwait set fire to hundreds of the country's oil wells. Behind this soldier can be seen the smoke pall from one such fire, dense enough to block out most of the normally bright sunlight. The Greater al Burgan field is the second largest in the world, with an estimated 60 billion barrels of recoverable reserves (one barrel = 159 litres). The fires and oil spillage from these wells has caused immense environmental damage, polluting the land, sea and the atmosphere for thousands of kilometres.
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