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Old 19.09.2009, 12:33
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Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?

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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.

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  #2  
Old 19.09.2009, 12:36
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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.
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Old 19.09.2009, 12:39
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Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?

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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?
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Old 19.09.2009, 12:41
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Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?

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But is the article true?
It's in the Independent: Truth doesn't come into it.
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Old 19.09.2009, 12:56
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Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?

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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" ).

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.
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Old 19.09.2009, 13:03
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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.
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Old 19.09.2009, 13:14
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Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?

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It's in the Independent: Truth doesn't come into it.
The same could be said of just about every UK Newspaper
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Old 19.09.2009, 13:25
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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

Last edited by zürihegel; 19.09.2009 at 13:28. Reason: Link added
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Old 19.09.2009, 13:48
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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
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Old 19.09.2009, 13:50
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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.
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Old 19.09.2009, 13:50
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Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?

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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.
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Old 19.09.2009, 14:41
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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.
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Old 20.09.2009, 01:09
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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



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.
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Old 20.09.2009, 02:33
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Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?

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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



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
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Old 20.09.2009, 02:42
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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.
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Old 20.09.2009, 03:07
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Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?



If you see this guy fishing on lake THUN call 911
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Old 20.09.2009, 07:09
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Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?

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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.
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Old 20.09.2009, 08:13
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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:

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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.
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Old 08.12.2010, 19:08
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Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?

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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.
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Old 08.12.2010, 21:33
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Re: Lake Thun - Environmental Disaster Looming?

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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.
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