Thursday, April 25, 2013
Troops used possibly toxic burn pits to destroy waste on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan instead of $5 million worth of incinerators because those incinerators were never made operational, according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
The SIGAR report finds that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $5.4 million contract to a Turkish company to construct and install the incinerators at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Salerno in Afghanistan. But due to safety concerns at the base, and the fact it would cost $1 million dollars annually to operate the incinerators, they were never used.
Now, SIGAR reports, the incinerators have fallen into disrepair, and are creating a malaria threat due to the stagnant water pooling beneath them.
Meanwhile, troops on the base have been using open burn pits to destroy waste, even though the Pentagon banned the practice over concerns about the health affects on soldiers breathing in the fumes.
Special Inspector General John F. Sopko said of the waste:
“These incinerators didn’t burn trash—but they did burn up taxpayer money. Worse, using open-air burn pits in their place puts the health of our troops at risk.”