Unexploded ordnance, such as naval mines and dumped munitions, are a grave environmental concern in the seas, especially those surrounding Europe, such as the Baltic, North, and Black seas, due to their role in World War Two as localities of major naval battles. As these munitions age, they release contaminants that pollute the water and endanger wildlife. Additionally, they present a threat to shipping and people who live near and off of the seas.
This project is intended to create an in-depth survey of the issue of dumped and unexploded munitions in the Black sea to assess environmental damage and potential mitigating actions. It will encompass three main elements: initial research and survey, information dissemination, and recommendations of potential next steps. The target audience is the explosive ordnance disposal community, international NGOs and policymakers, and those concerned for the safety and cleanliness of the Black Sea. The beneficiaries include local coastal communities, international shipping companies, and the wildlife of the region. The project is intended to last 12 months, beginning in January 2021. Andro Mathewson will lead on archival and internet research, while Dimitar Kirov will lead on local research in Bulgaria, including the collection of oral stories and liaising with local community historians.
The in-depth survey can then be used as a starting point for later actionable projects to begin removing debris of war from the Black Sea.