I went to Vieques in Puerto Rico as part of a team to meet with local scientific specialists and government authorities, both to help in the Planning Committee for the 4th IDUM (International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions), which will take place in Puerto Rico in October, as well as to advance work on the Green Cross International/Global Green USA project for the Island of Vieques.
Regarding the latter, we hope to get recommendations that will allow us to address the health of the citizens of Vieques in relationship to munition contaminants on the island. The scientific work will eventually involve collecting evidence and providing the path forward to better understand and provide insights into the higher incidence (compared to the rest of Puerto Rico) of cancer, diabetes, cirrhosis, and epilepsy among the residents of Vieques — believed to have a relationship to underwater munitions.
As a result of the successful meetings during the visit, both on the main island of Puerto Rico and on Vieques, the Global Green/Green Cross project can move into the next phase, which is the Scientists and Specialists’ Meetings to be held in San Juan at the end of September. Our parallel participation in the San Juan Planning Meeting for the 4th International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) also contributed to the success of those meetings, which will culminate in the 4th IDUM to be held in San Juan the first week of October, following our Scientists and Specialists’ Meetings.