Residents fear pollution's harmful effects

Environmental concerns surround Dora refinery and power station in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, January 4 — Residents of Baghdad’s Dora area say they are concerned about the environmental and health effects caused by the local refinery, as well as the nearby power station.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Oil has emphasized that it is considering relocating the refinery outside Baghdad due to the significant transformation of the area into a residential zone.

The Dora Refinery, established in 1955, is a major oil facility in the capital. When it initially began operations, the surrounding area was not densely populated. However, over subsequent years, the region gradually transformed into a residential area, with a notable increase in population after the year 2003.

The refinery’s environmental impacts, caused by smoke and waste, now pose a threat to the residents’ health, sparking concerns about diseases and other related issues.

Several residents in the area told 964 that the Dora Refinery and adjacent power station emit white smoke and significant quantities of harmful gasses daily, leading to respiratory diseases and other health issues.

The conversion of agricultural land, coupled with the increase in population, has negatively impacted the region, escalating air pollution levels.

Assem Jihad, official spokesperson for the Ministry of Oil, said:

The ministry is considering relocating the refinery outside Baghdad. However, the project has faced obstacles due to the need for fuel produced by this refinery.

With Iraq achieving self-sufficiency in oil derivatives through the operation of several refineries, it is hoped that an alternative site for the Dora Refinery will be identified. In the past, the refinery was located in an uninhabited area close to the river to consider environmental, health, and safety aspects. However, now, after seven decades since its establishment, there will be a serious approach to this matter, which has been delayed for many years.

It is not only refineries that contribute to environmental pollution but also power stations relying on fuel, especially heavy fuel, that emit harmful pollutants.