Lent Day #9

Day #9 (40acts): shop local. I do already thanks. A few years ago we proactively stopped our regular shopping visit to the Sainsbury’s supermarket a mile or so away from our home and started shopping at a new grocers that opened near us. We got to know the staff there and in the other local shops and although we may pay a little more for some goods, we save time and energy. Last year a Coop opened nearby and since we belong to the Coop we regularly use it too, especially for pizzas… Don’t forget that the Coop has money off Fairtrade products during Fairtrade fortnight and Coop members get extra points for Fairtrade purchases at the same time.

Day #9 (action): Joan Ruddock MP responded to my last letter in under 24 hours. I just sent her another email (though forgot to change the subject line, sorry Joan!) in commemoration of two decades of depleted uranium contamination in the Gulf. Over these decades the Ministry of Defence has been responsible for 2.3 tonnes of DU fired by UK forces during the 1991 and 2003 Iraq conflicts.

The Ministry of Defence has plans to extend the life of CHARM 3 the UK’s last remaining depleted uranium (DU) round.

Joan Ruddock has already signed EDM 2318 calling on the government to not extend the life of CHARM 3, so I asked her to lobby the Ministry of Defence on the subject.  

According to the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium, depleted uranium is by-product of the process to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel and weapons. It is very dense and pyrophoric, which means fine particles of DU burn at low temperatures. Its density made it attractive to the military as an anti-armour weapon. Its use in weapons puts civilians, military personnel and the environment at potential risk. Numerous reports from health professionals across Iraq and elsewhere signal increases in cancers and birth abnormalities.

CADU explains that the MoD itself has recognised that DU weapons are not ‘safe’, but remains adamant that the use of DU does not put civilians, military personnel, or the environment at risk.

The UK’s only DU round is called Charm 3. It comes in two pieces – the uranium dart and a separate propellant charge, and it is this charge that is expiring in 2013. The government wants to extend the life of these munitions by either re-licensing or renewing the charges. 

I chose this campaign because the Quaker UK peaceworker programme placed a peaceworker with CADU a few years ago and I’ve been aware of the issues ever since but never really done anything about it.

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