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MEPs urge EU to help salvage 50,000 tonnes of munitions dumped in the Baltic

23 March 2021

MEPs urge EU to help salvage 50,000 tonnes of munitions dumped in the Baltic

On the initiative of ECR Group MEPs Kosma Złotowski and Anna Fotyga, the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions has adopted a resolution by a considerable majority calling on the EU to solve the problem of chemical weapons dumped in the Baltic Sea.

Speaking after the vote, Kosma Złotowski said:

“The toxic munitions in the Baltic Sea are an ecological ticking time bomb. We must seriously deal with this problem and cooperate with international organizations, including NATO, to ensure adequate funding for this endeavour.”

Anna Fotyga added:

“The complexity, scale and threats of sunken weapons require action at the European level.”

Since the end of World War II, at least 50,000 tonnes of conventional and chemical weapons containing hazardous substances such as mustard and tear gas have been dumped into the Baltic Sea. By gradual degradation and leak of toxic substances into the water, the sunken munitions pose a threat to the health of humans, to marine ecosystems and biodiversity, and to economic activity in the region.

The Baltic Sea is a semi-enclosed sea with slow water flow and a very low self-cleaning capacity. It is considered one of the most polluted seas in the world, with low levels of oxygen at its depths. The international community does not have reliable information on the quantity, nature or location of the discharged munitions, due to insufficient documentation of these activities and little research completed on the Baltic Sea bed.

The resolution called on the international community to strengthen the monitoring of dumped munitions and to declassify information on the site of the dumped weapons. In addition, the Committee on Petitions called on the European Commission and the Joint Programming Committee of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region to ensure adequate funding for the research and activities necessary to eliminate the dangers of dumped munitions in the Baltic Sea, as well as to set up an expert group in cooperation with Member States and other interested parties.

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