(Newswire.net — February 5, 2017) — The U.S. army is in pursuit of biodegradable lead-free ammunition to replace existing shells that need more than 100 years to biodegrade and pollute environment in the process.
The Department of Defense stated that the new ammunition should be without lead and consisted of nature-friendly components. In addition, the DoD asked manufacturers to develop an ammunition which would become a foil for plants that animals could safely consume, CNN reports.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), military facilities account for 900 of the 1300 most polluted sites in the U.S. Cleaning those cites would result in a cost of $165 billion, according to the DoD.
Modern military outposts are generators of toxic waste from explosive combustion and lead that is not only found in ammunition but also in military paint and other broadly used components. Adding chemical leaks into the equation makes the U.S. army into one of the greatest pollution generators in the United States.
Lead poisoning is responsible for serious health conditions such as brain damages, and the U.S. army fires millions of lead bullets each year in their training facilities across the U.S.
According to Nic Jenzen-Jones, director of the Armament Research Services, the idea for replacing leaded ammunition with something nature-friendly already existed in the past 25 years.
“Particularly over the last 10 years there has been a push towards assessing the projectiles of different weapon systems to see if they can be made less harmful to users and the environment,” Jenzen-Jones said. He cited a Norwegian ammunition producer, Nammo, who claims Western military is researching and developing ammunition with a neutral or even positive environmental impact.
The company already manufactures lead-free bullets that are officially used by Norwegian and Swedish armies, while there is lead ammo prohibition in Denmark that forbids its use in hunting.
The environmentally-safe ammunition costs more than the conventional option and there are issues such as its performance and compatibility with the existing equipment, however, the arms expert believes that sustainability has become a priority.
“Militaries understand the cost trade-off of going green (and) they are happy to spend a little more to receive the environmental benefits,” says Jenzen-Jones, emphasizing the DoD’s increasing role in conservation and species protection, as well as their intent to approach this issue as responsibly as possible.
It is more obvious that not firing ammunition and setting up explosives would be a greater protection to our planet than biodegradable ammo and grenades, but the human civilization hasn’t reach that level of consciousness yet. However, biodegradable lead-free ammunition is certainly a step forward in building a better world, no matter how bizarre it sounds.