Conventional and chemical munitions must be recovered from the seas

CH-Zurich – 14 September 2017 – After World War II, the allied forces (the USA, the United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union) took over a total of approximately 300,000 tons of chemical weapons unused by Germany. Thirty-nine percent of these included yperite (mustard gas), 18 percent tabun (a neurotoxin), 11 percent teargas and 9 percent phosgene. At the Potsdam Conference, the allied powers decided to drop these agents of chemical warfare into the Atlantic Ocean at a depth of more than 1000 meters. Regrettably, not all of the parties complied with the agreement, and it is now known that these chemical munitions were dumped in the North and Baltic Seas and in the Mediterranean, some of them at a depth of no more than ten meters. According to the Russian scientist Alexander Korotenko, the chemicals are expected to leak into the sea between 2020 and 2060 because the containers are corroding. If they were released, 16 percent of the chemical substances would suffice to eradicate any form of life in the Baltic Sea.

 

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