Letter: Seeking a solution to land mines

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The Independent Online
Letter: Seeking a solution to land mines

Sir: In the recent concern over land mines, one area which has received less attention than it deserves is that of ridding the world of abandoned land mines. It is estimated that 50 million such devices now litter some 60 countries and that they kill 10,000 people annually.

Current work to remove those mines is slow and expensive in human and financial terms. The key to improvment is quicker, safer and more cost- effective methods of detecting the devices. The Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) sees this as nothing less than a humanitarian imperative seeking a technical solution and in October last year brought together over 100 experts from 20 countries to seek ways of improving detection methods.

The use of modern electronic technology shows promise and the collaboration which is likely to result from the conference may well prove a turning point. As the largest professional organisation in Europe, the IEE feels it has a social responsibility to, in effect, challenge the engineering community to tackle this appalling problem. The support of governments and industry could do much to hasten the process.

DR JOHN C WILLIAMS

Secretary

The Institution of Electrical Engineers

London WC2

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