The United States is set to begin destroying its largest remaining stockpile of chemical-laden artillery shells, marking a milestone in the campaign to eradicate the debilitating weapon from war.
The Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado plans to start neutralizing 2,600 tons of aging mustard agent starting in March. Ridding of the chemical weapon complies with a 1997 treaty banning all chemical weapons.
“The start of Pueblo is an enormous step forward to a world free of chemical weapons,” said Paul Walker, who has tracked chemical warfare for more than 20 years, first as a U.S. House of Representatives staffer and currently with Green Cross International, which advocates on issues of security, poverty and the environment.
The work to neutralize the mustard agent starts less than a year after it was determined that chlorine gas killed 13 people in Syria in April 2014. Before the chlorine gas attack, a 2013 nerve gas attack killed 1,400 in Syria.
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