Adriatic Sea Ruined By NATO Weapons, Depleted Uranium, Toxic Waste
Sandy beaches, gentle sea and charming tourist harbors: Italy’s Adriatic coast can be described as a paradise for sea-lovers. However, few are aware that tons of toxic waste disposed by NATO are piled up below the luminous surface.
According to investigative journalist Gianni Lannes, waters splashing against the coast of the southern Italian region of Puglia hide real hazards.
“An enormous amount of weaponry and toxic waste is present in these waters: US bombs from the 40s, and NATO weapons used in the 1999 war against Serbia, including depleted uranium ammunition,” he said. “These weapons often contain toxic substances, such as sulfur, mustard gas and phosphorous.”
Local fishermen say the presence of NATO weapons is seriously affecting their lives, and posing a threat to the local ecosystem.
“There are areas where these bombs keep ending up in our nets,” said local fisherman Vitantonio Tedesco. “We try to avoid them.”
“Following the war in 1999, the fish have practically disappeared from our waters,” he added. “The chemicals have affected our health, too, causing skin rashes, blurred vision and so forth.”
Fishermen have had to quit their jobs because of the scarcity of fish. The fishing cooperative in the seaside town of Molfetta was once comprised of almost 200 members, now there are just five.
Although NATO says there are six contaminated areas along the Adriatic coast, Lannes claims that is just the tip of the iceberg.
“NATO is lying, 24 areas are affected, not six,” he said. “The location of these areas have not even been made public. The population is being kept in the dark.”
Lannes’ repeated attempts to raise the issue with Italy’s Defense Minister have led to nothing. US military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian claims the US Army does its best to remove all dangerous weaponry after its military campaigns.
“We do everything we can, first of all, to comply with environmental law when we conduct operations and exercises,” he said. “Following the jettison operations during the Kosovo campaign we conducted those clearing operations and did everything we could to remove the hazards.”
However, Gianni Lannes believes NATO has not yet owned up to its responsibilities.
“There should be an economic compensation for those affected,” he said. “Europe, NATO and, above all, the United States must be held accountable.”
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