Without better access to cost-effective, safe, and reliable technologies for the Humanitarian Mine Action sector, Open Burning and Open Disposal will remain the primary means of disposal.
Munition and explosive residues have the potential to cause long-term harm when released into the environment. Common explosives, such as TNT and RDX are toxic, with both classed as possible carcinogens. The environmental fate of explosives is complex and varied. TNT absorbs onto soil, slowly leaches, and degrades to form degradation products such as DNT, which has a higher toxicity than TNT itself. RDX leaches from soil more readily, degrades slowly, and can persist in the environment.
The residual soil and water contamination at military ranges caused by the firing, detonation, and disposal of munitions by open burning and open detonation (OBOD) is well documented, and there has been increased attention on finding more environmentally acceptable options. This is reflected in the draft Lausanne Action Plan from the Second Review Conference for the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which sets out the need for stockpile survey, clearance, and destruction to be carried out with minimal environmental impacts.