Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Footprints of war...The dangers of decaying underwater munitions and nuclear weapons

Scuba diver Sean Smyrichinsky was only looking for some sea cucumbers, but in his search, he found something that gave him a little more bang for his buck.
Smyrichinsky found a decaying nuclear weapon when he went diving earlier this year off the coast of Pitt Island, a small island near Haida Gwaii, B.C. Officials suspect the device was from an American air bomber that crashed during the Cold War in 1950.
Though the weapon doesn’t appear to contain any active nuclear material, according to the BBC, it could still be a threat.
Terrence Long, founder and chair of the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) says this finding is more dangerous than we might think.
Long has 14 years of non-profit work under his belt fighting for the cleanup of residual underwater weapons.  These decaying leftover munitions, he says, are emitting carcinogenic chemicals into international coastal shores.
“Nobody, and not one country, is adequately addressing this issue,” Long said in a phone interview from his hometown of Sydney, N.S.
The retired military engineer worked extensively on the landmine eradication treaty that Canada signed in 1997.  After returning to Nova Scotia to start managing offshore waste in the oil industry, he heard about the danger of underwater munitions while working with local First Nations communities who were campaigning for awareness around underwater munition dumpsites.
“In my own research, I started to find more connections with reproductive health and regional cancers in the areas where you can find these sites,” he said.
Studies that Long completed around Nova Scotia’s munition sites focused primarily on cod fish, the most locally-farmed and consumed fish in the maritime regions. Long says he found significant biological stress on their kidneys and livers, and that juvenile fish are failing to successfully spawn.
Off Nova Scotia’s coast, the dumping site known as the 4VN fishing zone has more than 80,000 tons of rotting, carcinogenic munitions.
“This is a site where local people rely on the fish not just as food, but subsidy,” Long said.

Decaying underwater munitions not just a Canadian issue, Long added.
“There are sites all over the world that are releasing harmful chemicals,” he said. “They are leftover from airplane wrecks, shipwrecks and post-war dumping projects.”
This biggest task for Long is getting his work on the international scale. With the IDUM, he is planning to establish an international treaty that will ensure the global eradication of underwater munitions.
Countries have to start taking ownership of the problem, Long said.
“These munitions will remain on the seafloor for thousands of years if we don’t do anything about them.”
Long is developing a presentation for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ upcoming annual conference in the Hague, Netherlands. The conference will host the organization’s 193 countries to discuss the future around chemical weapon prevention and cleanup.


  1. Oh PIC ... Jonny BD post has the pictures and Jonny loves it , we got him a video photo display and Gil is sowing him how to put his photos on ... he love Yoda and have so many figurines of him , if we are out and see one we buy it for him ...
    I was speaking about the one on WAG about the piano playing .

    This is a very good post , looks like everything is creeping up on us .
    What next , maybe people will be a abducted again Hahahaha!!!
    Most of these damn politicians is back tracking and it seems that they are kissing Trumps butt .
    All the mud slinging ... I was surprised and amazed at the educated white women that voted for Trump ... well I guess they wanted their 15 minutes of fame ... Help us please somebody . Hahahaha!!!
    maybe it won't be as bad as it seem .
    What the hell the matter with me , we are at the bottom of the bucket .
    Good Post
    Love PIC

  2. I am so glad Jonny's post was all right. He is such a fine boy. He has a good heart. It comes across in his writing. He will go far, I know. I replaced Nanny's picture. I did not save it correctly when I took it from one of my emails.
    I just realized I should have put this post on Nanook. It is more related to the environment. Oh well, I am in such a rush these days I don't stop to think. Now I have a flippin cold thanks to Jake and having a head full of mucus does not help clear thinking.
    I bet you are making good stuff for Jonny's birthday and wondered if you make all the kids' birthday cakes. He told me he had the talk with his dad. I think that made him feel like a grown man.
    All the best to you my friend
    Luv PIC


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