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Now, where did we leave those things?

Posted by Miwa at Feb 25, 2009 09:14 PM |

UH, the Army and NOAA are getting around next week to looking for chemical weapons dumped off the Waianae Coast in the 1940s. A public report released in 2001 by the Army’s Historical Research and Response Team identified over 4,000 tons of dumped chemicals munitions, including hydrogen cyanide bombs, cyanogens chloride bombs, mustard bombs and lewisite.

In the past, the Army has assured community members that chemical munitions will dissipate before causing any serious damage or that the pressure and cold temperatures of the depths of the ocean will render munitions inert–at least, in theory. In reality, containers corrode over time, releasing the chemicals into the ocean. The longer the chemicals remain in the ocean, the greater the chances for a rupture or leak.

‘There are a number of avenues of risk associated with this. The highest is to marine life. In small doses chemicals can accumulate in animals and work their way up the food chain. There are also impacts on the reproductive capabilities of some species, in addition to the lethality of higher doses.” – Craig Williams, Chemical Weapons Working Group

Next week’s effort is part of an eventual plan to attempt to remove or destroy in place dumped munitions off the Waianae Coast. The communities along the Waianae Coast have for years advocated for clean-up, over Army objections.

“If you’re telling the community that there is nothing to be afraid of, and that it (ordnance) can stay in the ocean without any consequences, then by the same token you should be able to remove it.” – Colleen Hanabusa, State Senator, 21st District

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