WARSAW, September 15 (RIA Novosti) – Some 50,000 tons of bombs and missiles dumped in the Baltic Sea after World War II are contaminating the seabed and causing mutations in local fish population, according to the recently reported findings of European marine researchers.
Following the WWII, the Soviet Union and Britain dumped thousands tons of German chemical weapons and agents into the Baltic Sea with many of them ending up on the seabed of the Gotland Basin.
“Our research has shown that in the Gotland Deep there are about 8,000 shells and missiles that could pollute the environment. We have now confirmed that these objects are contaminating the seabed,” Dr. Jacek Beldowski of the Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences , told Polish Press Agency earlier this week. He said that previously the researchers could only speculate on their effect for the environment.
Cold water temperatures of the Baltic manage to turn mustard gas, which makes 80 percent of the dumped chemicals there, into a heavy substance, but European scientists warn that it may still pose a certain threat to the local fish species and the marine life. Beldowski said that their findings have already revealed some genetic defects and diseases of the fish population.
The research is part of the European Union’s Chemical Munitions Search and Assessment (CHEMSEA) project, which has discovered previously unknown dumping zones of the chemicals weapons in the Baltic.
“When the Russians learned that the goods they transport are dangerous, they were throwing them overboard as soon as the land was out of sight,"Beldowski told the PAP.