Phase II of the Falkland Islands Demining Pilot Project Announced

The UK spoke to the UN’s First Committee recently, primarily about conventional weapons and the Arms Trade Treaty. It also mentioned the Ottawa Convention (of which the UK is a signatory), aimed at stopping the use of anti-personnel land mines.

Watch where you walk

In particular, phase II of the Falkland Islands demining pilot project was announced, to start in January 2012. The extent of the known minefields will be confirmed, and they will be fenced on all sides. Any areas currently marked as suspect and able to be confirmed safe will be released back to public use. Phase II of the pilot will also collect information to be used for future clearance operations.

These mines have been in place for 29 years. Safely removing them seems like a perfectly sensible decision (it would also seem reasonable to ask why it’s taken so long). However, this 2005 article from Environmental News Network describes how penguins nest in the minefields. The penguins, too light to set off the mines, have discovered that humans won’t disturb them in the minefields, making them a good choice for nesting. While unexploded mines aren’t an ideal way to provide penguins with undisturbed nesting areas, it’s to be hoped that they will find somewhere to nest once the mines are gone.