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Latest update : 2013-10-03

Croatia's demining deadline

In Croatia, two decades after the war of independence, it is estimated that thousands of landmines are still buried in the soil. The European Union is urging the country to get rid of those deadly devices, once and for all.

Croatia’s entry into the European Union has reignited hopes the country will be mine-free by the year 2019. Croatian authorities estimate that mines cost the country half a million euros per year in lost potential. At the same time, the population lives with the constant fear of setting off one of these deadly devices.

With more avenues of funding available, Croatian officials plan to rid the soil of an estimated 70,000 unexploded landmines, using a combination of science, technology and hard work.

At the University of Zagreb, Professor Nicolas Kezić believes he’s found a missing link in the demining process: honey bees. Every week, he trains thousands of the intelligent insects in an enclosed tent. The goal is to teach the bees to associate food with the smell of TNT, the explosive material used in landmines. The Down to Earth team travelled with the professor as his bees were put to the ultimate test.

By Mairead DUNDAS , Marina BERTSCH , Juliette LACHARNAY , Emilie COCHAUD

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