Hey Greta Thunberg, since you’re taking on the ecological consequences of war, you might want to take this one on: Chinese researchers say that they are still finding high levels of radioactivity in the South China Sea from weapons testing the U.S. conducted in the 1940s and 1950s.
A new study was published in the Chinese language journal Environmental Chemistry. It shows that “radioactive pollutants from the US Pacific Proving Ground (PPG) tests were carried by ocean currents more than 5,000km (3,000 miles) and spread throughout the South China Sea.”
This is consistent with previous research which found evidence of the PPG pollutants throughout this region. According to the South China Morning Post, “the US conducted 67 nuclear tests at the PPG in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958, yielding a total 210 megatons of TNT – setting off the equivalent of more than two Hiroshima-sized bombs every two days, according to some scientists’ estimates.”
Some environmentalists assert that China should join with other nations in the region to seek compensation for this beyond the $2 billion that the U.S. paid to the people of the Marshall Islands in 1986. That’s not very likely given the current antagonistic state of the U.S. with China.
Still, this highlights an important contradiction. The West continues to wage wars worldwide with lingering effects on the planet while lecturing developing nations about climate change. If we care about climate change, weaponry would be a good place to start, given that the military is responsible for more than 80% of the U.S. government’s carbon footprint.