I heard recently that the Ivory Coast destroyed its stock pile of land mines. This is excellent news, considering the fact that land mines killed and maimed 4000 people worldwide in 2010, many of them children. Even better news is the fact that this number is down from the 20,000 people that were killed or injured in 1999. Much of this is due to the Mine Ban Treaty that came into force in 1999. Eighty percent of the world’s countries have signed this treaty, which prohibits signatories from using antipersonnel mines, and requires countries to destroy mines in their stockpiles within four years, and clear mine areas in their territory within 10 years. Needless to say not all countries will achieve these milestones by the deadline but it is an important step in the right direction with 3000 km2 of land having already been cleared of mines and over 45 million stockpiled mines destroyed.
As usual China, Russia and the USA are among the 36 countries that have not signed the treaty.
For more information visit the International Campaign to Ban Landmines website at http://www.icbl.org/.
Dr. F. Bunny
For those who like lists here is one of the ten countries with the most land mines, according to http://listverse.com/2008/08/11/10-countries-with-the-most-landmines/.
- Egypt: 23 million.
- Iran: 16 million.
- Angola: 10-20 million.
- Afghanistan: 10 million.
- Iraq: 10 million.
- Cambodia: 8-10 million.
- Kuwait: 5 million.
- Bosnia-Herzegovina: 3 million.
- Mozambique: 3 million.
- Somalia: 1 million.