Eighty years after the end of World War II, leftover munitions have been dubbed the problem that will never be fixed.
Cities have been rebuilt, borders redrawn – but there’s still an estimated 1.6 million tonnes of ordinance on ocean floors. Some experts say there’s a lot more than that.
The New Zealand Navy is doing its part to whittle down that number, taking part recently in a joint operation near a lagoon in Tuvalu to remove 22,500 pound AN-M43 aerial bombs most likely dumped there by the US military at the end of the fighting in World War II. Operation Render Safe was run by the Australian Navy, with Canada and US Marines also taking part.
However the Tuvalu find is a drop in the ocean of a project that may never end.
And ERW – or explosive remnants of war – are also a clear and present danger on land. Some of our Pacific Islands are still in dire need of a clean up.
“I don’t even think you could put enough zeros on how much would be needed to do it properly,” says RNZ Pacific journalist Koroi Hawkins. He grew up in the Solomon Islands where WWII relics were, and still are, part of the landscape.
“How many millions of dollars would you need to go through those salvage and secure operations? There’s just not, at the moment, any political will to be doing any of that stuff, because there’s so much out there.”
READ FULL ARTICLE : The deadly remnants of a war that won’t go away | RNZ