A Risk-Increasing Safety Strategy?
Evaluating the traditional risk mitigating strategy in dealing with dumped ammunition and explosive remnants of war
In Norway, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of explosive remnants of war remain in nature. It has always been recognized that the ordnance could represent a certain explosive risk if disturbed, and that some of the constituents in the ammunition could be harmful to the environment, but, even so, a tacit assumption by decision makers is that, if left alone, the ammunition will slowly become harmless over time. Some argue, however, that the risks are in fact increasing, not diminishing, with time, and that our current risk management strategy could prove to accelerate the risk rather than mitigate it. This article outlines some of the critical issues facing our current risk reduction strategy, as well as raising some concern as to whether the current strategy could be outdated and in need of revision. This study builds up a picture of how the strategy has evolved over time, and how new knowledge and broader risk perspectives can provide further insights into how this strategy could be revised. The conclusion of this investigation is that, on the basis of improved risk assessments highlighting the complex risk picture and the strength of knowledge concept, there is an urgent need to revise the current risk mitigating strategy.