Thursday, November 12, 2015

The "Red Zone" in France

The Red Zone is a series of areas in northeastern France that were isolated by the government after World War I. These areas were too damaged by the war for agriculture or human habitation. Some small areas remain off limits.
The red zone on the maps refers to completely devastated areas and the yellow areas have major damage. The green areas only had minor damage and the blue area was undamaged. The red zone is still full of unexploded shells and the soil is polluted by various chemicals and human and animal remains. From Wikipedia:
Each year dozens of tons of unexploded shells are recovered and, according to the Sécurité Civil agency in charge, at the current rate no fewer than 700 more years will be needed to completely clean the area. Some experiments conducted in 2005-06 discovered up to 300 shells / 10.000m² in the top 15cm of soil in the worst areas.
Some areas remain off limits (for example two small pieces of land close to Ypres and Woevre) where 99% of all plants still die as arsenic can amount up to 17% of some soil samples. Most destroyed villages lie in this area.
 Some of these areas have been set aside as artificially planted state forests but the trees are in poor shape. Other areas have been cleared for agriculture but concerns about pollution remain. Much more detailed information can be found on the French language wikipedia page.

1 comment:

Scott Campbell said...

Those shells were fired BY the French after THEY declared war on Germany. They could have cleaned it up YEARS ago if they had want to spend the time and money. They extorted millions from the German people that bankrupted the German government and people. I both world wars, France declared war on Germany first, just as they did in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.