The Ethics of Demining

The Ethics of Demining

Removing landmines almost always comes with some sort of cost. Whether it’s risk of injury or damage to the environment, landmine removal can cause serious problems. This calls into question the ethics of landmine removal in general. While the end goal is positive, the process can have some very negative outcomes.

While landmine removal efforts are attempting to save lives, they also have a very real potential to endanger them. It is estimated that for every 5,000 landmines removed, one worker will die in the process. This statistic doesn’t even account for injuries that result from accidental detonations.

Photo: Journal of ERW and Mine Action

Detonating landmines can also have a very negative impact on the surrounding environment. Explosions can severely damage the soil and any nearby foliage. Often times, landmine removal operations can render entire plots of land completely useless. This not only damages the ecosystem, but also makes it so people can no longer use the land for agricultural purposes.

These are only a few of the ethical outcomes of landmine removal that the Landmines Team has had to consider while designing their drone. They want to get rid of landmines but they also want to have the least possible risk for human injury and environmental damage.

Detonation Drone

Using a drone already eliminates a lot of the dangers to human life that come with removing landmines, but the threat still exists. The Team is going to make sure that all operations can be done remotely and at a safe distance from the landmines themselves. Limiting human proximity to the landmines is extremely important to ensuring the safety of everyone involved in the operation.

The Landmines Team hopes the design of its detonation drone can help limit environmental impacts by containing the explosion. The detonation system is contained within a metal box, which will hopefully help limit damage to the surrounding ecosystem. But it’s important to keep in mind that when explosions occur, the environment suffers. One way the Landmines Team has considered combating this issue is by ensuring soil is replaced and new foliage is planted after the drones are used. These are just two simple ways of limiting the environmental footprint of their UAVs.

Considering the ethics of landmine removal is important to the Landmines Team as they are building their drones. Because the end goal is so positive, it’s easy to forget that the process can have some seriously negative outcomes. Keeping these outcomes in mind will help their project do the most good with the least harm.


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