An Introduction to the Political and Technical Challenges Posed by Seadumped Chemical and Conventional Weapons : the Case of the Baltic Sea

22-12-2008

Executive summary Potential environmental and human health effects resulting from the dumping of World War I and World War II-era conventional and chemical weapons in the Baltic Sea are of continuing concern. It is not possible to identify, and safely recover or otherwise ‘remediate’ all of the munitions that have been dumped. Some munitions will continue to be uncovered inadvertently. Therefore, procedures for the identification and reporting of recovered munitions should be maintained and, where possible, strengthened. Estimating an overall cost for the recovery and remediation of all dumped munitions is problematic. A standard operating procedure for the disposal of such weapons is to detonate individual munitions that are judged to pose a clear and present threat. Techniques for locating and handling munitions at varying depths and databases of geographic, environmental and other information continue to be developed. The paper recommends that any policy approach to the recovery and remediation of dumped munitions should be reasoned and balanced. Any decision to recover or remediate dumped munitions should be informed by technical and scientific requirements, and any policy process should be guided by these principles. Further efforts should be carried out to achieve common understanding on risk (quantitative and qualitative) and the implementation of appropriate risk management strategies.

Executive summary Potential environmental and human health effects resulting from the dumping of World War I and World War II-era conventional and chemical weapons in the Baltic Sea are of continuing concern. It is not possible to identify, and safely recover or otherwise ‘remediate’ all of the munitions that have been dumped. Some munitions will continue to be uncovered inadvertently. Therefore, procedures for the identification and reporting of recovered munitions should be maintained and, where possible, strengthened. Estimating an overall cost for the recovery and remediation of all dumped munitions is problematic. A standard operating procedure for the disposal of such weapons is to detonate individual munitions that are judged to pose a clear and present threat. Techniques for locating and handling munitions at varying depths and databases of geographic, environmental and other information continue to be developed. The paper recommends that any policy approach to the recovery and remediation of dumped munitions should be reasoned and balanced. Any decision to recover or remediate dumped munitions should be informed by technical and scientific requirements, and any policy process should be guided by these principles. Further efforts should be carried out to achieve common understanding on risk (quantitative and qualitative) and the implementation of appropriate risk management strategies.

Külső szerző

John Hart (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute - SIPRI, Stockholm, Sweden)