Military waste and the environment
- Parliamentary Assembly
- Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting
on behalf of the Assembly, on 12 November 2010 (see Doc. 12354, report
of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional
Affairs, rapporteur: Mr Toshev). See also Recommendation 1946 (2010).
1. The production of weapons used
in war, their detonation and the eventual storage of the hazardous material
in military waste disposal sites could have serious consequences
for the environment. The utilisation and management of military
waste is an issue that needs to be addressed by the Council of Europe
member states as a serious environmental threat.
2. Many substances present in military waste are still active
and can endanger nature and human health. Furthermore, it has only
recently been shown that the exposure to detonated material can
have disastrous effects. Unfortunately, these problems cannot be
solved by simply displacing stored waste, ignoring the dangers of
abandoned arsenals or implementing standards on a country-by-country
3. During the last two decades, 10 serious incidents involving
military waste have been reported, all of which resulted in victims,
environmental damage and expense for repairing the damage caused.
Such incidents affect not only the states in question, but go beyond
their frontiers and are in fact a pan-European problem.
4. Important quantities of weapons dating from the First and
Second World Wars and the Cold War are still stored by the military.
However, competition in weapons production and rapid technological
developments have resulted in most of these weapons becoming obsolete.
In a special category of hazardous military waste are weapons
that have been dumped into the sea, and in some cases into rivers,
in vast quantities. Most of this waste is still chemically active
and could be the source of serious environmental problems. The Parliamentary
Assembly has already dealt with this particular issue in its Resolution 1612 (2008)
chemical munitions dumped in the Baltic Sea.
6. The Assembly consequently calls upon member states to de-classify
information about military waste, where such classification still
7. In the light of the above, and especially with regard to the
negative effects on the environment, the Assembly believes that
military waste has become a problem that is common to all European
The Assembly therefore invites the Council of Europe member
8.1 create and implement
a common European policy and methodology for military waste management,
which also addresses means of recycling a part of this military
waste, with a view to preserving the planet’s resources and ensuring
8.2 adopt acceptable regulations on freedom of information
concerning the disposal of military waste in Europe and guarantee
the availability of information on the types of waste material and
any de-classification of information in this respect;
8.3 consider creating a new international or European body
to deal with the issue and to co-ordinate the efforts of member
states. Such an institution could help member states that face serious
difficulties in solving their military waste problems, co-operate
with European neighbouring countries on the utilisation of their
military waste and establish a joint control mechanism;
8.4 initiate co-operation in this respect with NATO member
states, as well with those Council of Europe member states that
are not members of NATO, with a view to harmonising policies and methodologies
on utilisation of military waste.