UMass sponsoring world environmental conference

The University of Massachusetts will co-sponsor a major international conference that will focus on petroleum contamination of the environment and include an examination of the Iraqi invasion damage that still exists in Kuwait.

We are pleased to play a role in bringing together academic experts, policymakers, environmentalists and key figures from industry to discuss ways to protect our fragile environment, said University of Massachusetts President William M. Bulger.

There is no corner of the globe that has not suffered from oil spills and other forms of petroleum contamination. When contamination occurs, it is essential to assess and repair the damage as quickly as possible. The leading figures in the areas of assessment and remediation will gather at this conference in an effort to expand the boundaries of our knowledge and the breadth of our abilities, President Bulger added.

The First International Congress on Petroleum Contaminated Soils, Sediments and Water will take place at Imperial College in London on August 14-17, 2001. Sponsored by the University of Massachusetts, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences and the Amherst-based Association for the Environmental Health and Sciences, the conference seeks to focus world attention on the environmental consequences of petroleum contamination. It is expected to attract 800 participants from 50 countries.

Among the topics to be discussed will be the significant environmental damage that continues to exist in Kuwait a decade after Iraqs invasion and brief occupation.

During that period, Iraqi forces spilled 500 million to 1 billion barrels of crude oil into the Kuwaiti desert and pumped an additional 25 million barrels of Kuwaiti oil into the Persian Gulf. In comparison, the Exxon Valdez spilled 250,000 barrels of oil into Alaskas Prince William Sound. The Iraqis also set 613 oil wells on fire and destroyed another 140 wells, creating the largest manmade air pollution e

Contact: Robert P. Connolly
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

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