Potential Human and Environmental Catastrophe in Vieques

Vieques (also called La Isla Nena) is among the 10 most contaminated places in the world due to its abandoned munitions, according to president of The International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM). Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día offers details on the situation (article below translated by Robert Rabin):

Scientists from around the world studying effects of underwater munitions will point the finger at the US Government when they present to the United Nations next year a report that will include what they describe as a human catastrophe in Vieques. The International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM), founded in 2004, celebrated its fourth dialogue as preparation for the UN report.

During the three day conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Juan, 150 participants focused attention on Vieques, the Puerto Rico island municipality where the US Navy carried out training exercises with live munitions for 60 years. In the 1990’s, Vieques was scene of a community struggle with international attention that eventually put an end to the military presence, but now have to deal with military toxics on land and sea and higher incidence of chronic illnesses, particularly, cancer, compared to other jurisdictions.

“It’s much worse than we thought. There is a real impact on human health. What’s happening in Vieques is a potential human and environmental catastrophe”, confirmed Terrance Long, president of IDUM, who visited Vieques last week to learn first-hand what he saw in scientific studies. “I’d say that Vieques is among the top ten most contaminated places in the world in relation to military munitions,” he suggested. “For this reason we will take the US before the United Nations,” he affirmed. Long mentioned other places highly contaminated with munitions, like the Baltic Sea, Afghanistan, Nova Scotia, Hawaii, and others. The result of the dialogue held in Puerto Rico and the three previous meetings will form part of the IDUM report to be handed over in 2013 to the Secretary General of the UN in support of the UN Resolution on Abandoned Munitions.

For original article (in Spanish), see http://www.elnuevodia.com/potencialcatastrofehumanayambientalenvieques-1358494.html

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