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One-Stop Waste Disposal -- Enhancing Force Protection in Afghanistan

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Sound environmental practices in the theater of operations, principally hazardous and solid waste management, are truly an area of force protection. How much waste can a contingency base camp generate Seemingly more than it can handle. By Spring 2002, units at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, were faced with a growing human health and environmental threat caused by huge amounts of waste that required collection, management, and disposal. This waste, not just from U.S. forces, included vast amounts of destroyed equipment, trash, and hazardous waste left behind by Taliban forces that were routed away from the airfield. Tying the entire waste management program together required the vigilance of the unit chain of command and the base operations staff. As a result of the experience gained in its peacetime mission of environmental assessments at U.S. Army Reserve Centers nationwide, the Facility Engineer Team FET was able to provide expert environmental staff work. The FET also acted as the commanders eyes and ears to ensure that soldiers were complying with unit and Army environmental standards. Sound environmental management in contingency operations is an important facet of force protection. It is necessary to minimize soldier exposure to potentially harmful contaminants and hazardous conditions at uncontrolled waste disposal areas and burn pits. To facilitate good waste disposal practices, the process needs to incorporate simplicity for the soldier and the unit, design and construction of facilities that provide access control and waste containment, and continuous enforcement by the chain of command. A properly designed and built one-stop waste disposal facility is a key component of a good environmental program that helps soldiers remain healthy and able to accomplish their critical mission outside the wire.

Subject Categories:

  • Terminal Flight Facilities
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Air Pollution and Control
  • Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control
  • Water Pollution and Control

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