What Are Some of the Dangers of Land Mines?

How Land Mines Are Used?

Land mines are initially implemented during wars to cause enemy military personnel and vehicles to explode. The land mines intended for use on enemy individuals are called anti-personnel land mines, whereas the mines intended to destroy enemy vehicles and tanks are called anti-tank land mines. Both types of mines are usually planted an inch or two below ground level. Typically, they are triggered by pressure on the ground, by remote detonators from far away or by a wire that is tripped. If a military general suspects that enemy forces will be moving through a certain area, the general might choose to plant mines throughout the land as a way of slowing that enemy force down; land mines can easily damage supplies and injure or kill large groups of opposing military personnel.

The Lasting Effects

Because of how widely land mines are often distributed and buried over a large geographic area during war time, it is extremely difficult for a military to clear out the mines after they are no longer needed. Sometimes mines are forgotten or lost if the military that planted the mines is not well organized. These cases are especially common in countries with constant volatile conflict, such as Laos, Bosnia, and Cambodia. However, the lasting dangers of land mines are not contained to third world countries; over seventy countries around the world right now possess millions of live, active mines in the ground leftover from various wars.

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Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30963112@N02/3008493100/

It is these forgotten mines that remain beyond war and into times of peace that are so incredibly dangerous to innocent people. Biological weapons, chemical weapons, and nuclear weapons put together have not caused the amount of damage that land mines have to innocent people. Land mines are not targeted or intelligent weapons. Thus, mines cannot determine if the person tripping its trigger wire is a threatening enemy soldier, or if it is a small child or mother who happens to live nearby.

These tragedies in which a land mine severely injures or kills an innocent person happen more frequently than most people realize. Children, who are prone to wandering and often do not recognize what a mine looks like even if it has risen above ground, are especially prone. They frequently mistake the mine for a toy, or are simply curious about the foreign object, so they approach the mine rather than run away. Though some mine fields are labeled with signs that warn of the danger, children in underdeveloped countries frequently do not know how to read. Therefore, signs and fences are sometimes not enough.

The Future of Dangerous Land Mines

Over the last few years, there has been an attempt to ban all types of land mines from use in wars going forward. This effort is specifically as a result of the high volume of innocent lives taken by the mines after wars are over. Although the survivors of these mines often have to live with severed limbs and have difficulty with mobility, they have shared their stories and persuaded international groups to take action. The ICBL, or the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines, as well as members of the United Nations, continue to muster worldwide support in order to rid the world of land mines once and for all.

Article written by Jet Russell. Jet writes articles on topics ranging from Internet marketing, to logistics, to humanitarian subjects. He is a serial guest blogger and is always contributing to the blogosphere.

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