Ban Land Mines This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   A land mine is the most excellent of soldiers, for it is "ever courageous, never sleeps,never misses," as one Khmer Rouge general put it. Every year about 26,000people die from or are injured by land mines, and 30-40% of all victims are underthe age of 15. It is estimated that up to 70 million mines are in the ground inover 70 countries.

Children are the most innocent victims of mineexplosions. In one district in Vietnam, 300 kids have died, 42 have lost limbs,and 16 have been blinded as a result of land mines laid during the Vietnam War.It's not uncommon for children, who are curious and like to explore, to walkright into a mine field even when warning signs are posted, since they are eitherilliterate, or too young to read. Soviet forces, for example, spread millions oftoy-like "butterfly" mines in Afghanistan.

A mine can beproduced for as little as three dollars. When kids step on mines, those threedollars cause a lot of damage. Because children's bones grow faster than thesurrounding tissue, they need a new artificial limb as frequently as every sixmonths, which is an incredible expense - up to $3,000 every time.

When itcomes to land mines, your first thought might be the victims, but what about thecommunity? According to the UN Secretary-General's expert Graca Machel,"Clearing a field of mines gives life back to a local community. It givesthe people the chance to grow their own crops rather than rely on internationalassistance. In short, it restores human dignity and promotes humansecurity." Mining agricultural land has led to famine and starvation.Cambodian farmland has been so badly affected by mines that only 2,435 familiesare able to use land that could support 85,000.

Aren't mines supposedto serve military purposes? Then why are 75 percent of the victims civilians?Land mines are so cheap and so common that they are even used for fishing and toprotect private property. Is that necessary?

The International Mine BanTreaty was put into force March 1, 1999, and was passed faster than anyinternational treaty in history. There are also private and public organizationshelping with mine clearance. So why do the statistics keep increasing? For every50,000 mines removed from the ground, another two million mines are deployed. Andas often as every 22 minutes, a person is killed or injured. Don't you think it'stime to ban mines before the matter gets even worse?




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback