Clearing chemical and conventional munitions from the sea

Dumping obsolete, damaged, or expired munitions into the sea was considered a safe and cost-effective method of disposal until the late 1960s and was widely carried out following the end of both world wars. [A Daily Odyssey / Shutterstock.com]

Tonnes of dangerous chemical and conventional munitions were dumped into Europe’s seas following the end of the world wars in the previous century, and today they pose a risk to marine life and seafarers.

It is estimated that the Baltic Sea alone has around 50,000 tonnes of chemical munitions, 500,000 tonnes of conventional weapons, and 10,000 wrecks on its seabed.

This danger is exacerbated by an increase in “blue economy” activities, such as installing offshore wind farms and laying deep-sea cables.

Lawmakers are today pushing the European Union to take action to clean up seabeds and ensure Europe’s waters are safe from hazards.

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