Environment: Dead Sea in the Making

A fragile ecosystem brimming with life is headed for destruction

Another full-fledged war began last week, complete with its own heavy weapons, intelligence reports and international team of experts on strategy and tactics. This one was against an enemy no less redoubtable than Saddam's army: an oil slick estimated at 80 km (50 miles) long and 19 km (12 miles) wide that is breaking into pieces as it spreads down the Persian Gulf, its consistency like that of melted chocolate.

An estimated 1.1 billion liters (294 million gal.) of crude oil had escaped from Kuwait's Sea Island terminal before allied bombing raids on pumps feeding the facility reduced the torrent to...

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