Trash Burning Poses Health Risk to Americans in Afghanistan

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-07_d703a718ce.jpgU.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury/Released(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- U.S. troops in Afghanistan have even more to worry about than Taliban fighters, IEDs and insider attacks. Literally, garbage may be putting American lives at risk. It's been reported that Camp Leatherneck operates open-air burn pits to dispose of trash in violation of the Defense Department's regulations.

The pits are only supposed to be a last-resort option and yet they're used around the clock at Camp Leatherneck, which potentially puts the health of 13,500 Marines and civilians in danger.

John F. Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told the top U.S. commanders in Afghanistan that toxic smoke from the pits can cause "reduced lung function and exacerbated chronic illness, ranging from asthma to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."

The quick solution is to install four incinerators at a cost of $11.5 million.  However, with U.S. forces preparing to depart Afghanistan in the near future, the Pentagon may hold off on such an expense.

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