A ticking bomb at the bottom of the Baltic Sea
If we pumped water out of the Baltic Sea, we would see an apocalyptic landscape: piles of mines, barrels and bombs loaded with chemicals. When the post-German scrap corrodes, an ecological disaster awaits us, warns Tuesday’s Gazeta Wyborcza.
“GW” reported that “unwanted World War II memorabilia in various parts of the Baltic Sea may amount to 40 to even 100,000 tonnes”.
The exact number is difficult to estimate today. Just as it is difficult to determine precisely all the sites of the sinking. After the Potsdam Conference, Soviet soldiers who disarmed ammunition depots in Poland and Germany were responsible for the neutralisation of German chemical weapons, it was pointed out.
It was written that “the Gotland Deep, an area more or less in the central zone of the Baltic Sea, was initially chosen as the main dumping area”.
However, the route proved too long for the Russians. Tons of barrels were dropped from ships at random points along the convoy routes. Crates of chemical ammunition (and air) drifted until the wood decayed. Then, carried by currents, the cargo would settle somewhere on the bottom, it was explained.
As conveyed, “the second sinking site is the Bornholm Deep (east of the island of Bornholm)”.
There, according to official Soviet documents, about 40,000 tonnes of weapons were abandoned at a depth of about 100m,” the article stated.
It added that “several tens of tonnes are also lying in the Gdansk Deep, north-east of the Hel Peninsula”.
The chemical weapons are mainly barrels of mustard gas (sulphur iperite), aerial bombs and mines containing, in the words of the military, CW agents (mainly iperite and arsenic). Fishermen from the Hel Peninsula, who, curious about the finds in their nets, opened their chests, which ended in burns, have sometimes been convinced of how dangerous these substances are, writes Tuesday’s GW.
The article states that “research conducted by scientists of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 2011-19 shows that a yperite (mustard gas) bomb contaminates water within a radius of up to 70 metres.”
Contaminates, meaning that it kills the undersea biota there,” it explained.