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-   -   Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming? (https://www.englishforum.ch/daily-life/62117-lake-thun-environmental-disaster-looming.html)

Deep Purple 19.09.2009 13:33

Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Down at the bottom of Switzerland's deepest lake is one of the country's murkiest secrets. For here is disturbing evidence of Switzerland's little-known Second World War defence effort. It poses a potentially devastating threat to the Alpine nation, 70 years after the conflict.


The placid waters of Lake Thun spread out for 11 miles beneath Faulensee village. Some 700 feet beneath the surface more than 9,000 tons of Swiss army munitions lie dumped on its watery floor. The ordnance includes artillery shells, hand grenades, and explosives that were meant to defend Switzerland against a Nazi invasion that never happened. After the war, the army began a 20-year process of getting rid of its vast munitions stockpile by dumping most of it into four Alpine lakes, all of which are used to supply drinking water to the surrounding population. Lake Thun, in the central Swiss canton of Bern, took the brunt of the disposal programme, which ended in 1964.
Lake Thun fish is sold in many local restaurants and is apparently very good. The Jungfrau Victoria Grand Hotel have it on their menu.
If this is the cause of harm to the fish, will this damage the local economy? In the UK, every food scare seems to become a problem that could threaten the end of civilization.

Full Story

Guest 19.09.2009 13:36

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
The Independent has a longstanding grudge against Switzerland. This is just the latest manifestation of this rather bizarre one-sided feud.

Ignore it. Eat fish. Be happy.

Guest 19.09.2009 13:39

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

The Independent has a longstanding grudge against Switzerland. This is just the latest manifestation of this rather bizarre one-sided feud.

Ignore it. Eat fish. Be happy.

But is the article true?

Guest 19.09.2009 13:41

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phos (Post 554127)
But is the article true?

It's in the Independent: Truth doesn't come into it. :)

Scott 19.09.2009 13:56

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phos (Post 554127)
But is the article true?

There was some uproar a few years back - some media tabloid found
out about this and made a big deal about it. Since then it has been
rather quiet. Or, at least nothing heard of on this side of Switzerland
(commonly know to some as "Swiss" :msnsarcastic:).

If you have the chance, look into the publishing history of Blick. They
were the ones that brought this topic into the limelight a few years ago.
You may find something about it there.

Blonaybear 19.09.2009 14:03

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
As Scott says, this is not a new story. I've been here 20 years and this story seems to comes up every few years.

Deep Purple 19.09.2009 14:14

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

It's in the Independent: Truth doesn't come into it. :)
The same could be said of just about every UK Newspaper :rolleyes:

zürihegel 19.09.2009 14:25

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Thanks for bringing this dark chapter of Switzerland on top again! It is definitely not a new story as the somewhat older EF members might remember, again and again has it been wiped under the carpet. My search about the topic resulted in almost 5'000 hits! The fishermen's associaton of Lake Thun requested back in 2004 that those reminders of the Cold War be removed. Has it been done in the meantime? I haven't found corresponding results. Ammunition has not only been dumped in Lake Thun but also in Lake Brienz, Walensee and Vierwaldstättersee.

By the way: Also the NT reported about this topic. See here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/wo...wiss.html?_r=3

simplon 19.09.2009 14:48

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
It is not at all a secret or a conspiracy. We locals knew it all the time and are not as half concerned as the foreign press seems to be. Sometimes I wonder if modern journalists just copy from each other without even thinking about what they write.
More about it here:
http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/schwei...1.1181856.html

Scott 19.09.2009 14:50

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
[quote=simplon;554189]Sometimes I wonder if modern journalists just copy from each other without even thinking about what they write.quote]

Put my money here ;)

Modern term for this is called Copy&Paste.

Deep Purple 19.09.2009 14:50

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zürihegel (Post 554171)
Thanks for bringing this dark chapter of Switzerland on top again! It is definitely not a new story as the somewhat older EF members might remember, again and again has it been wiped under the carpet. My search about the topic resulted in almost 5'000 hits! The fishermen's associaton of Lake Thun requested back in 2004 that those reminders of the Cold War be removed. Has it been done in the meantime? I haven't found corresponding results. Ammunition has not only been dumped in Lake Thun but also in Lake Brienz, Walensee and Vierwaldstättersee.

By the way: Also the NT reported about this topic. See here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/wo...wiss.html?_r=3

I guess what has brought this to the surface again (pun intended!) is that some of the weapons have been retrieved and are now on display in Faulensee.

Goldtop 19.09.2009 15:41

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
This story has been repeatedly published in serious Swiss newspapers. Hence, it is very probably true.

I remember reading that the Thun lake water purity, fish and fauna are being monitored. Dredging the junk out is considered more dangerous. It would really muck up the sedimented toxics. So it is vigilant waiting.

20.09.2009 02:09

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
It reminds me of some other stupid thing the military did.
In the Herens Valley, we have this unique geological oddity called the Euseigne pyramids.
http://switzerland.isyours.com/E/gui...ound.sion.html

http://www.unifr.ch/geoscience/geogr...s-euseigne.jpg

Some young idiot officer thought it would be a great idea to use them as target practice...
He destroyed a bunch of them.

It is still very interesting and I recommend seeing the area.

cannut 20.09.2009 03:33

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ch-expat (Post 554466)
It reminds me of some other stupid thing the military did.
In the Herens Valley, we have this unique geological oddity called the Euseigne pyramids.
http://switzerland.isyours.com/E/gui...ound.sion.html

http://www.unifr.ch/geoscience/geogr...s-euseigne.jpg

He destroyed a bunch of them.
Some young idiot officer thought it would be a great idea to use them as target practice...

It is still very interesting and I recommend seeing the area.

Uhhhhhhhhh gee I hope Canadian dude doesn't find out otherwise all hell brakes loss :eek:

Colonelboris 20.09.2009 03:42

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Ah, we used to get the odd news snippet when I lived in Scotland about phophorus shells washing up on the beaches of Ayrshire. Lively things - as soon as they dry out they go up in spectacular flames, along with anything else flammable near by. The MoD had dumped tons of the things into the sea at the end of the last big European spat.

cannut 20.09.2009 04:07

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._bin_laden.jpg

If you see this guy fishing on lake THUN call 911 :p

RolandRB 20.09.2009 08:09

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blonaybear (Post 554144)
As Scott says, this is not a new story. I've been here 20 years and this story seems to comes up every few years.

When I was about 10 years old we were staying at Hotel Beatus by Lake Thun and I picked up a wooden case of about eight bullets that had washed ashore. It was my treasure and my pride and joy. It got mysteriously lost before we left the country to go back to England.

ChrisW 20.09.2009 09:13

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
The fact that there are ammunitions at the bottom of the lake may be true, but whether it is affecting the local wildlife is probably far more debatable. What isn't debatable is that The Independent made a glaring mistake in the very first sentence of the article:

Quote:

Down at the bottom of Switzerland's deepest lake ...
I was surprised by this, so I checked my map. According to that, the lake is 215 metres deep at its lowest point. There are several lakes in Switzerland that are deeper than this, including Lake Brienz, which is right next door and is listed as being 260 metres deep, and Lake Geneva is over 300 metres deep. There are probably others, too.

If they can't get basic facts like this correct then I'm not sure that the rest of the story should be trusted at all.

amogles 08.12.2010 20:08

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zürihegel (Post 554171)
Thanks for bringing this dark chapter of Switzerland on top again! It is definitely not a new story as the somewhat older EF members might remember, again and again has it been wiped under the carpet. My search about the topic resulted in almost 5'000 hits! The fishermen's associaton of Lake Thun requested back in 2004 that those reminders of the Cold War be removed. Has it been done in the meantime? I haven't found corresponding results. Ammunition has not only been dumped in Lake Thun but also in Lake Brienz, Walensee and Vierwaldstättersee.

By the way: Also the NT reported about this topic. See here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/wo...wiss.html?_r=3

Furthermore, I don't really see in what way waterlogged WW2 ammunition can be dangerous. If explosives can really get into drinking water and kill fish, then all of Londoners must be poisoned by now as there are hundreds of unexploded WW2 bombs gently decomposing in the London clay and that is the very water they drink and even brew beer with.

But take any fact out of context and you have a scare story ...

More than 90% of people die in bed so let's sue bed manufacturers.

Wollishofener 08.12.2010 22:33

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phos (Post 554127)
But is the article true?


I don't know about the article as such. But just one detail, artillery grenades do not contain toxics. Sure, each one contains a kind of watch or sensor, which may contain things you can find in every other watch and which are not recommended for eating. The metal parts are embedded in shooting powder and cotton and are not toxic. I mean they were produced in order to destroy everything in a diameter of 10 meters, not on impact but by exploding a few meters above the ground.

Wollishofener 08.12.2010 22:35

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blonaybear (Post 554144)
As Scott says, this is not a new story. I've been here 20 years and this story seems to comes up every few years.

Haven't Anglophone guests to Switzerland complained that fish in Switzerland was generally too salty ? :D:D

Wollishofener 08.12.2010 22:44

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zürihegel (Post 554171)
Thanks for bringing this dark chapter of Switzerland on top again! It is definitely not a new story as the somewhat older EF members might remember, again and again has it been wiped under the carpet. My search about the topic resulted in almost 5'000 hits! The fishermen's associaton of Lake Thun requested back in 2004 that those reminders of the Cold War be removed. Has it been done in the meantime? I haven't found corresponding results. Ammunition has not only been dumped in Lake Thun but also in Lake Brienz, Walensee and Vierwaldstättersee.

By the way: Also the NT reported about this topic. See here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/wo...wiss.html?_r=3


The deepest lakes were chosen because it was considered that the whole stuff does not rot all at once, but quite gradually and slowly.

Wollishofener 08.12.2010 22:49

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Goldtop (Post 554222)
This story has been repeatedly published in serious Swiss newspapers. Hence, it is very probably true.

I remember reading that the Thun lake water purity, fish and fauna are being monitored. Dredging the junk out is considered more dangerous. It would really muck up the sedimented toxics. So it is vigilant waiting.

Not just probably true. It never was a secret. Theoretically dangerous are the old explosion devices which until the early 70ies contained dynamite and TNT, until getting replaced up from about 1975 by Semtex, most of all by Semtex-82 of course.

amogles 09.12.2010 10:48

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wollishofener (Post 1039105)
Haven't Anglophone guests to Switzerland complained that fish in Switzerland was generally too salty ? :D:D

I caught a fish in Lake Thune the other day and brought it home to grill it. The resulting detonation killed several neighbours. The worst thing was that it was after 10pm though and the police are fining me 25 Franks for causing a nightly disturbance and CHF6.80 for fishing without a licence.

slammer 09.12.2010 10:52

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 1039359)
I caught a fish in Lake Thune the other day and brought it home to grill it. The resulting detonation killed several neighbours. The worst thing was that it was after 10pm though and the police are fining me 25 Franks for causing a nightly disturbance and CHF6.80 for fishing without a licence.

Oh you beat me to it.

slammer 09.12.2010 11:14

Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?
 
On the other hand, what's the big deal, the stuff will break down in the coming centuries most ww2 vintage explosives are Ammonia based so actually biodegradable, ask me what I do with old blackpowder..
..It is the best fertilizer known to man, you should see the roses, beautiful, just don't try to pick them. :-)

And if you mull the utter stupidity of the allies dumping thousands and thousands of tons of explosives in the sea and not just your normal run of the mill playdoh verity explosives, 30.000 tons of mustard gas, up to a million tons of other nasties in Beaufort's Dyke (Irish sea) half a million tons in the Skagerrak another over a half a million tons in the North sea.
To this day if you are on the Baltic doing a bit of amber hunting you should be sure that you can tell the difference between amber and phosphor.
Look at people living in the Themse estuary, they have their fingers in their ears all day.

They did not think twice in them days they thought they were doing the right thing and now we curse them.


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