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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

R.E.D.C.O.D. - Research on Environmental Damage caused by Chemical Ordnance Dumped at sea Ongoing Project

Until the 1970s, dumping at sea had been the current practice for disposal of obsolete ordnance. It was considered the best available solution for the elimination of useless ammunition, particularly chemical ammunition since it was thought that the sea would neutralise the toxicity of the chemical agents contained in the weapons. Dumping operations have mainly occurred in areas of the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Sea of Japan, the North Atlantic Ocean, the South Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Dumped chemical weapons in the Italian seas are in such a quantity as to be an actual danger for those who fish and explore the seabed. In the Southern Adriatic Sea alone, from 1946 until 1996 more than two hundred fishermen have been hospitalised as a consequence of chemical warfare agents leaked by war surplus caught in their trawl nets

The main objectives of the R.E.D. C.O.D. project are:

  • to assess the environmental noxiousness of ordnances lying on the seabed of the Southern Adriatic Sea;

  • to achieve a better knowledge about the quantities and the type of ordnance dumped in the Southern Adriatic Sea;

  • to achieve a better knowledge about the best available technologies to clean up the sea-bottom.