Sunday, December 19, 2004

Surf's Up!

This article describes some of the unpleasant surprises that England's beaches have in store for the unwary:

The seas and beaches around the British Isles are polluted with a cocktail of man-made detritus, including anti-tank missiles, phials of anthrax vaccine, drums of toxic chemicals and even parts of Ministry of Defence missile systems, according to one of the most authoritative reports on the marine environment.

[snip]

Those injured...included surfers off the west of Scotland who were burnt after discarded flares ignited. A West Country beachcomber collapsed after inspecting a drum of chemicals on a Devon beach. One of the most disturbing cases involved almost 500 phials of anthrax vaccine that had drifted into a Dorset bay...Safety alerts were issued after people stumbled across anti-tank mines on two popular Norfolk beaches. Flammable liquids had to be cleared from a Guernsey beach last summer.

'It is quite alarming when we get reports of materials self-igniting on beaches,' Dixon said.
No doubt. For those who don't have the stamina to read the entire article, here's the punchline: the British government has plans to build a liquid gas terminal near a sunken munitions ship containing "1,400 tonnes of unsalvaged explosives and detonators."

1 comment:

Thersites said...

You can see why these people used to run the world. Metaphorically, I suppose we're all still getting burned by the garbage left over from the end of the Empire.