Health & Science
Master of Arts (MA)
At the end of World War I and World War II, in a new era of peace, nations confronted an unprecedented logistical problem: millions of tons of unexploded ordnance—once a wartime boon—had become a peacetime burden. Faced with a mandate to dispose of excess munitions, militaries turned to dumping their stockpiles into the sea. But now a complex and urgent issue is emerging. Increasingly, as industry looks to build offshore—wind power turbines, internet cables, oil pipelines—they are facing a potential peril: millions of tons of unexploded bombs and ammunition that are lying on the ocean floor can explode or leak if accidentally triggered. It's a global problem, and politicians and industry leaders in the U.S., Canada, and Europe are mobilizing to better map the problem and come up with solutions.
Oberlink, Anny, "Lost at Sea" (2021). CUNY Academic Works.
Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) place shells on gravity rollers that take surplus ammunition over the side of the ship and into the sea, Cairnryan, Scotland, 1946
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A coral encrusted unexploded bomb at depth off the island of Kahoolawe, Hawaii which was used for target practice during World War II (Photo: Alamy)
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“Potentially dangerous” World War II ordnance and munitions on Skipsea Beach in Yorkshire, U.K. (Photo: Alamy)
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Mustard gas stockpile waiting to be disposed as part of Operation Lewisite, Okunoshima, Japan, 1946.
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