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Scrutiny
 
OCEANS: MILITARY DEBRIS
With a Defence like This...
Debris Dumped into The Sea by Military Operations causes havoc for Marine as well as Human life. Unfortunately, all Advice is yet Unheeded
Issue Date - 12/05/2011
 
Ex-British PM Margaret Thatcher had a doctrine regarding ocean pollution caused by perilous military activities: conservatism is good for actions with long term negative consequences! Her vision formed the cornerstone of the London Dumping Convention that banned the release of military debris into the seas. Consequences notwithstanding, a majority of countries do not have such a convention and freely release military debris into the oceans, causing enormous damage to marine lives.

At the recent UN International Marine Debris Clearance conference, Paul Walker, director of Global Green inferred that a massive 8000 tonne of hazardous material has been plunked near Hawaii by the US army. US vessels have been dumping 34 million litres of untreated liquid waste and 16 tonne of plastic waste every month! Alarmingly, more than 400,000 rockets and bombs are drifting around US coasts! During the Cold War, under the shield of the Iron Curtain, the Soviet Union released 2.5 million curies of radioactive material into the Arctic Ocean, the Sea of Japan, the Barents Sea, and the Kara Sea, according to the Yablokov report. France carried out 137 nuclear tests under the sea between 1975 and 1996, creating an artificial crater with a diameter of 140 meters. The tests conducted in French Polynesia caused havoc to 1 million cubic meters of sand and coral. Japanís seas are contaminated with chemical weapons with a total bulk of over 6,600 tons. And that is not counting the most recent irradiated water being released from the Fukushima plant.

But if military debris isnít dumped in oceans, then where? Research institutes like Coastal Zone Enhancement Program in US or Swedish Geotechnical Institute talk about measures like recycling and reuse of oceanic debris. But all that costs money. And dumping is cheap...

 

Sray Agarwal           

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