17 November 2021 @ 10:00 - 16:00 CET
The ECR Group has the pleasure to invite you to an online conference on 'The unexploded munitions and chemical residues in the sea - in search for lasting and economically viable solutions' with the participation of main EU stakeholders and leading experts from Europe and North America.
Welcome remarks @ 10:00 CET
Panel I: Underwater unexploded ordnance and chemical residues - from global problem to best solutions @ 10:30 CET
Sea dumping of unwanted chemical and conventional munitions has occurred at many sites around the world. Most of the dumping episodes occurred following the end of the World Wars when unused war stocks required disposal. These hazards did not evaporate deep below the surface of the seawater. They still affect the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Adriatic Sea, but also Atlantic coast of the United States, Canada and continue to be a source of concern for Australia or Japan. Conventional and chemical weapons threaten human life and the marine environment. They endanger fishing and navigation, impeding the development of offshore energy, aquaculture, shipping, tourism and other sectors of the blue economy.
In this panel we will assess the legal framework and global attempts to tackle the problem of the conventional and chemical munitions dumped in the seas and oceans.
Panel II: Unexploded ordnance and chemical residues in the Baltic Sea - the state of play and call for further actions @ 12:30 CET
As a consequence of World War II dozens of tons of munitions and chemical weapons were sank in the Baltic Sea, which now experts consider to be one of the most polluted seas in the world. Due to inter alia incomplete documentation on the number and places of dumps, it is impossible to determine the exact amount of the chemical munitions lying on the seabed, containing toxic substances, such as mustard gas, and representing a serious hazard to the environment and to the people. Apart from the munitions itself, there are also hundreds of shipwrecks which progressive corrosion creates a risk of leakage of fuel, petroleum products and poisonous warfare agents. This may cause an ecological disaster and poison large areas of the Baltic Sea.
Panellists will present the most current knowledge on unexploded ordnance, munitions and chemicals lying on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, and propose the most effective and economically viable solutions. They will also suggest what course of action should the EU Institutions, Member States, science, private sector and other stakeholders take to solve this problem.
Panel III: Research and innovative technologies as economically viable solutions @ 14:30 CET
Experts and stakeholders agree that disposal of old conventional and chemical weapons, lying in the seas and oceans, is a necessity. Changing ocean temperatures, salinity and density levels are having an unknown effect on the dumped munitions. As human use of the sea for energy, aquaculture and other resources expands, tackling munitions in the seas is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. Views on how to deal with this threat are divided and engineers, scientists, policymakers and financiers are currently debating the best strategies for safely destroying the weapons. Some experts insist that the munitions should be left where they are, but that they should be properly secured against leakage and corrosion, others argue it should be removed or neutralised, ia. bioremediation.
Panellists will discuss and present some of the environmentally-friendly and cost-effective solutions for controlling and cleaning the pollution emerging from the dumped munitions.
Closing remarks @ 15:45 CET