As if life was not bad enough for Adnan Kadhim – he lives in a slum where municipal authorities dump Baghdad’s rubbish – now someone is setting the waste on fire, making his children sick.
As the United Nations marks World Environment Day on Wednesday, Iraq is suffering a pollution crisis, with trash piling up across the country and thick clouds of smoke produced by inefficient factories hovering above Baghdad.
“The dirt, our children are sick, our families are sick. My daughter has asthma, and I had to take my family to the hospital last night. We had to go at 2 am to give her oxygen. What have we done wrong to deserve this?” asks the 48-year-old, with mountains of rubbish behind him.
No one in his unplanned neighborhood within Baghdad’s southeastern Zaafaraniya district knows who is setting the rubbish on fire, and their complaints to government and municipal authorities have fallen on deaf ears because they are technically not supposed to be living in the area.