This past November 5th, the international workshop on "Environmental Effects Related to Waste Originating from Sea-Dumped Chemical Munitions” took place in Gdynia, Poland, hosted by the Polish Naval Academy and Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection along with the Lithuanian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The workshop was the next step in the implementation of the resolution „Cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from sea-dumped chemical munitions“ and to build a platform for exchange of information on chemical weapons dumped in the seas and oceans. Conclusions reached during the meeting will be presented at the 68th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which is scheduled for April 2013.
The workshop was attended by 45 experts and scientists from Poland, Lithuania, USA, Canada, Great Britain, Denmark, Belgium, Russia and Switzerland.
Conclusions of the workshop included:
- The problem of dumped chemical munitions, a consequence of World Wars I and II, should still be discussed as an unsolved problem in Europe and one with important impacts to the maritime economy of many countries.
- Dumped chemical weapons are a global problem and only through international cooperation and exchange of information will we minimize the risks to the environment and users of the sea.
- The International Dialogue of Underwater Munitions and the CHEMSEA project, which is partly-financed by the EU, are examples of close international cooperation of scientific, governmental and non-governmental institutions.
- An important contribution to the fulfillment of resolutions will be the HELCOM MUNI report, which will be presented at the meeting of the Helsinki Commission in the spring of 2013.
- It is very important to increase public ecological education, particularly around seaside holiday areas.