Land mines are notorious for leaving a legacy of ongoing destruction from Southeast Asia to Africa, taking the lives and limbs of civilians decades after the wars and hostilities that brought them in the first place. As detonation is one of the main strategies for removal, clearing mines can be expensive and dangerous for people. It may also be harmful to the environment, according to recent research conducted in northern Iraq which is the first to indicate that mine clearing operations can leave high levels of heavy metals in the soil, potentially causing problems for ecosystems and humans in the area.
The Iran-Iraq War ended in a ceasefire in August 1988, but thousands of landmines remain in areas near the border. The Mines Advisory Group, a British organization focused on removing and destroying mines, began to clear the explosives in 1991 in areas of Kurdistan, either by detonating them where found or by taking mines collected from around the countryside and exploding them in a central location.