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
Lesson plan – Student Reporting Labs explore how youth deal with misinformation
Find out what young people really think about the news and the spread of misinformation using a variety of short videos produced by PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs (SRL). Continue readingdigital literacyELAenglishfake newsfilmJournalismMedia LiteracyMisinformationnews literacynews mediaSocial StudiesSRLstudent reporting labsstudentsyouth media
Lesson plan: Do midterm elections matter?
In this NewsHour lesson plan, students will gain an understanding of midterm elections and discuss reasons why voter turnout remains low. Continue readingCivicselectionElection 2018GovernmentGovernment & Civicslesson planMedia Literacymidterm electionsmidtermsoff-year electionsPoliticsSocial StudiesU.S. governmentU.S. historyvoter turnoutvoting
Lesson plan: Veterans Day and the meaning of sacrifice
Use this PBS NewsHour lesson plan to help students understand the significance of Veterans Day and the meaning of sacrifice. Students will identify important veterans in their lives, examine an interactive timeline of military history and study issues facing veterans today. Continue readingAmerican HistoryGeographyGovernment & Civicsmilitarymilitary serviceservicememberSocial StudiesU.S. historyU.S. militaryVeteran's DaywarWorld War II
Lesson plan: Thanksgiving through the lens of Native Americans today
Students will examine current issues facing the Wampanoag people, the ancestors of the Native American tribes who welcomed the Pilgrims, including the continued fight for their ancestral lands and the preservation of their native language. Continue readingA Thanksgiving HistorycolonialismcolonizationGovernment & CivicsholidaysIndian tribesNative AmericanspilgrimsPlymouthSocial IssuesSocial StudiesthanksgivingU.S. historyWampanoag
Using media literacy with students to discuss New York City terror attack
In this PBS lesson, teachers use media literacy with their students to discuss New York City’s deadliest terror attack since 9/11. Continue readingdomestic terrorismGovernment & Civicshome grown extremismISISIslamic statejihadismlesson planMedia LiteracyNew York CityradicalizationSocial Studiesterrorismviolent extremism