CELTIC LEAGUE PRESS INFORMATION
CAPE WRATH MILITARY EXERCISES POSE LONG TERM POLLUTION PROBLEMS
There is growing concern in the small scattered community of Cape
Wrath in Northern Scotland about the implications of extensive military
exercises planned for this coming June.
Last summer the United States Navy carried out a massive exercise
using both ships and aircraft in the area. There was considerable
noise pollution caused and also problems with misdirected munitions.
Paradoxically as the Scottish community braces itself to face the
nuisance poised by the US Navy the service has been kicked out of
one of its own dependant territories whose citizens tolerance of the
US military has finally snapped.
The Puerto Rican population of Vieques Island finally rid themselves
of the US Navy last year after almost sixty years of military exercises
which saw the community battered and polluted. Islanders allege continuing
problems with infant mortality and abnormally high rates of cancer.
Now the Scottish community of Cape Wrath believe the US is looking
for a substitute for Vieques and that this years exercises will be
the forerunner of more general usage of the Cape Wrath ranges.
The US military already has a bad record of pollution and problems
caused by military range activity around the Celtic countries. The
Jurby sea ranges off the North West of Mann are still dangerously
polluted with munitions almost a decade after the facility closed.
Nether the UK or US will admit liability for the clean-up and it looks
as if the tiny Manx nation will ultimately have to bear the cost.
Some range pollution can have a longevity beyond that of conventional
explosives. Ranges in SW Scotland are already contaminated with depleted
uranium munitions. It seems likely that the facility off Cape Wrath
will have already suffered similar pollution last summer and unless
the June exercises can be stopped this will increase.
At its AGM later this year the Celtic league will be asked to reactivate
its military monitoring campaign which had been scaled down following
the end of the Cold War.
J B Moffatt
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works
to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a
broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It focuses
on human rights abuse and civil liberty issues and also monitors the
impact of military activity.
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