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Belgium could build island over abandoned poison gas grenades | The Guardian |

For almost 100 years 35,000 tonnes of poison gas grenades, abandoned by the fleeing Germans around first world war battlefields, have lain in steel barrels on the seabed less than a kilometre from the Belgian coastline.

A convoy of small boats dumped the cargo into the North Sea over a period of six months in 1919 when unloading it into the world's oceans was thought to be the best way to protect people from exposure to the toxic material.

The site was soon forgotten, only to be rediscovered under three metres of sand and silt by divers in 1971 during the expansion of the port of Zeebrugge. Building over the barrels was considered given the danger of gas leakage but the costs were thought to be too high. Monitoring was chosen over action.

Paardenmarkt: A Toxic Legacy of the Great War | Peace Palace - The Hague |

Along the Belgian coast, a narrow submerged sand-bank called 'Paardenmarkt' (Horse Market) extends from the Port of Zeebrugge to the Dutch border. Few people are aware that this sand-bank is one of the largest World War I ammunition dump sites in the North Sea. In fact, the figures are perplexing: at least 35.000 tons of German ammunition, at least a third of which are chemical shells, located just at about 500 meters off the Knokke-Heist beach, a main touristic attraction.

Only since 1988, the area has been marked on nautical charts. The official sea map shows an average depth of from 1.2 to at the most 4 meters. Five dotted lines are drawn on this sand-bank that form a pentagon. Neither fishing nor anchoring are allowed in this two square kilometers area. It is also forbidden for swimmers, divers and surfers. However, there are no warning signs and the area is only indicated by a few orange buoys.

Gevaarlijke erfenis uit de Eerste Wereldoorlog: gifgasgranaten gedumpt in de Noordzee bij Knokke



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Tue Sep 25th, 2018 at 06:52:01 PM EST

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