Earth-friendly grenades proposed
Courtesy Society of Chemical Industry
and World Science staff
Grenades aren't designed for kindness. They exist to kill.
But a group of scientists suggests the little bombs could at designed so that they go easy on the environment while wiping out its human inhabitants.
The “greener grenades” concept stems from a study of the environmental impact of grenades conducted by Elisabeth Hochschorner and colleagues at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.
Her team assessed the environmental impact of grenades and concluded that they harm
the planet considerably both during war and peace.
In peacetime, they said, mining of metals used in grenades and the energy costs needed to produce them cause environmental damage.
But topping the list of harmful effects are residues emitted during practice detonations top the list of harmful effects.
In war, mining the copper used to make the grenades damages the earth even more than harmful residues from explosions,
the researchers added.
This is because the exploded copper cannot be recycled as it is during peacetime decommissioning. The authors suggest that replacing plastic for copper could make grenades greener.
The study, to be published in The Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, used a method called 'life cycle assessment' which has never been applied to munitions before.
Steven Young, President of the renewable energy consulting company GreenhouseGasMeasurement.com, said the defense industry, one of the biggest industrial sectors, has embraced this type of study before.
The industry is “very well positioned“ to make progress on environmental issues, he added, as it tends to make analytical decisions and has huge purchasing power.
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