ArticleDownload Worksheet May 16th, 2013
Unexploded Landmines Are Focus of Prince Harry’s Visit
Britain’s Prince Harry is in the United States hoping to draw attention to the worldwide problem of unexploded landmines, which kill an estimated 15,000 people in 70 countries every year.
Soon after the prince touched down on American soil May 9 for his eight-day tour, he toured a landmine clearance exhibit on Capitol Hill with Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, himself a Vietnam War veteran.
The U.N. estimates that since the 1960s, as many as 110 million mines may have been planted.
Prince Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, worked with survivor networks to highlight landmine injuries to children and women. She drew world attention when she walked near an active minefield in the African nation of Angola to promote the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.
The dangers of landmines
There are two main types of landmines; anti-tank mines meant to destroy or disable trucks and tanks, and antipersonnel landmines that are meant to maim individuals. Antipersonnel mines require only minimal pressure to explode and therefore pose the greatest threat to life.
Landmines were first widely used in World War II as a way to protect borders, camps and bridges from enemy soldiers. However, because antipersonnel landmines are cheap to make, they eventually became commonplace in civil wars where they were aimed at harming civilians.
In recent years, non-military groups have increasingly used landmines to terrorize communities and police their movements.
A U.N. report from 2008 wrote that landmines left over from previous conflicts still kill 15,000 to 20,000 people each year and maim countless others, mostly children, women and the elderly.
In 1997, 156 countries signed the Mine Ban Treaty, in which they agreed to stop production of antipersonnel landmines. However, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, out of the 12 states that did not sign the treaty (one of which was the U.S.), three countries, India, Pakistan and Myanmar, were still producing landmines as of 2009.
How do we get rid of them
As technology has progressed, landmines have become cheaper to produce and harder to detect. New mines can cost between $3 and $75, but can cost $300 to $1000 to remove. Some are small, plastic and colorful, making them harder to detect by metal detectors and more attractive to children.
Some demining operations use animals like dogs and rats to sniff out landmines, although research by the University of Montana shows that honey bees are the best living mine detectors. Other operations use mechanical methods like metal detectors or radar to locate mines.
After the mine is located, people will either manually disarm the device, burn it or detonate it.
Armored vehicles have been used to detect and destroy landmines at the same time by simply driving over minefields.
However, this kind of work is slow, and it can take years for an organization to come in and clear a field. One Afghan designer who grew up in a community dealing with the horrors of landmines recently gained attention for an award-winning wind-powered landmine remover that costs less than $60 and can explode several mines in one run. Below is a video profiling him and his device.
— Compiled by Allison McCartney for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Young people do care about being part of the democratic process
On July 15, I joined hundreds of supporters, members of Congress and vice presidential nominee Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to see Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton speak at a rally in Northern Virginia. Continue readingCivicsElection 2016Hillary ClintonPoliticsSocial StudiesStudent Voices
10 things to know about the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will not be the only exciting event to watch this summer — the Democratic and Republican National Conventions will also be televised.Democratic National ConventionElection 2016presidential nominationrepublican national convention
Calls for unity are met with protest on first day of Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention began on Monday amid protests from supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and calls for unity to back Hillary Clinton. Continue readingBernie SandersDebbie Wasserman ShultzDemocratic National ConventionDemocratic PartyDNC 2016Election 2016Hillary ClintonWikileaks
Hillary Clinton’s long time in the political spotlight
While Clinton has topped the annual Gallup poll of “most admired woman” each of the last 14 years, a CBS poll last month showed nearly two-thirds of Americans say they don’t think she is honest or trustworthy. Continue readingDemocratic PartyElection 2016feminismFirst LadyHillary ClintonSecretary of State
Donald Trump’s early years from trouble-making teen to military school star
Born and raised in Queens, New York, to a family of privilege, Donald Trump grew up in a 23-room house and was driven to private school by the family chauffeur. Continue readingbiographyDonald TrumpElection 2016presidential raceSocial Studies