By putting the informative signs in the areas most polluted with explosive ordnance the Ministry of Defence of Latvia will warn the people about the possible danger.
The posters and warning signs were set up in the previous military installations – Cekule ammunition storage, located close to Riga, capital of Latvia, and previous air-to-ground military training area of Soviet Army in Zvarde, Saldus parish. The posters will inform the people on the unexploded ordnance that can be found in both areas as well as will give the instructions how to react in case of finding them.
There is still a huge amount of explosive ordnances found in the territory of Latvia which is left from World War I and II, as well as from the presence of Soviet Army. Every year the Latvian National Armed Forces specialists of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) eliminate thousands of artillery shells, rockets, grenades and other ammunition both in the land and sea. More than 48 thousands of these ordnances have been destroyed in Latvia since 2005, but there are still hundreds of thousands to go.
The most polluted areas are the ones which were once used as the active war zones during the both World Wars. On the other hand, the military installations of the Soviet Army have left the polluted territories which are still impossible to use for the living and economic activity.
The training area in Zvarde was formed by the Soviet Army in 1955 and used for the air-to-ground training for 40 years. The main bombing target zone was located in the central part of the area however the shells often dropped out of it, even in the range of 10 kilometers from the target zone. It is supposed that more than 120 000 hectares of territory is polluted – hundreds of aviation bombs and other kind of explosives can be found in the ground, while the large amount of ammunition from the World War II is also left in the vicinity.
Former ammunition storage in Cekule has been used for military needs for more than 70 years. The storage was built by the Latvian Army in 1920 and afterwards exploited both by German and Soviet Armies. The large amount of ammunition was spread out in the area during the World War II when the Soviet partisans blew up the storage. Instead of collecting and eliminating this ammunition it was hid under the sand layer. The last Soviet militaries left the storage in early 1990. In nowadays the territory in size of 240 hectares is neither fenced, nor guarded thus being dangerous to people.
The soldiers of National Armed Forces and National Guard have been cleaning this territory since 1994. In order to test and improve their skills they are annually conducting the EOD exercise here. During these exercises more than 3000 ammunition units have been destroyed so far.
In order to test the opportunities for using this territory for EOD training the Swedish Armed Forces specialists also took part in the exercise in the middle of October this year.
Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces remind people not to touch the objects which look suspicious and could be explosive. In case of finding them people are asked to inform the Police which will deal with the elimination of these explosives in cooperation with the Armed Forces.