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Military Debris Threaten Oceans

By Malini Shankar

BANGALORE, Apr 14, 2011 (IPS) - Military debris dumped into the world’s oceans are hazardous to coral ecosystems, reefs, fish and marine wildlife, say experts, who also warn - in light of the recent tragedy in Japan - that earthquakes and tsunamis could disturb this debris and even wash it ashore.

"The tsunami from the Japan earthquake increased the likelihood of sea dumped conventional and chemical weapons washing ashore as they rest at a shallow depth of 200 metres in Choshi Bay of Chiba Prefecture in Japan," said Ryo Sato, marine researcher at Global Green, the U.S. affiliate of the NGO Green Cross International.

The Baltic Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Pacific Ocean are hotspots.

In the Philippines "Coron, Subic Bay and Leyte Gulf have the highest density of planes and ships sunk during the Second World War, and numerous shipwrecks and airplanes litter the seafloor in the reefs," according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Philippines.