Chuck Spinney: UXO Waste of War Decades Later

04 Inter-State Conflict, 07 Other Atrocities, 11 Society, Blog Wisdom, Military, Waste (materials, food, etc)
Chuck Spinney

For every square meter of land along the Western front from the Channel coast to the Swiss border it is estimated that a ton of explosives fell during WW1 (the “Iron Harvest“)

Belgian UXO (unexploded ordnance) experts estimate there are 450 million pieces of UXO in Belgium alone. At Verdun in France the estimate is that 12 million pieces of UXO remain.

Belgium – 450 million pieces

Verdun 12 million pieces

Verdun II

Belgian EOD

French UXB info

630 French UXO personnel have been killed since WWII working on this stuff. Currently in France the UXO specialists recover about 900 tons per year, with 30 tons of that being chemical munitions (mustard gas shells, phosgene shells, etc.), and they estimate there’s enough work there to keep them busy for another 900 years.

French UXO specialist deaths

900 tons per year (repeated on many, many sites):
http://net.lib.byu.edu/english/WWI/historical/Verdun.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_harvest
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unexploded_ordnance

In 1991 alone 36 French farmers were killed by UXO while plowing their fields.
http://net.lib.byu.edu/english/WWI/historical/Verdun.html
http://www.frontiernet.net/~mmulford/ww1.htm

That’s just one small area of the world. In many, many places huge swaths of land are covered by UXO which continue to maim and kill.
http://maic.jmu.edu/journal/4.2/features/ww2/ww2.htm
http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/290/5/650.full
http://reliefweb.int/node/104350