International Day Against Nuclear Tests, declared by the United Nations General
Assembly, is observed on the 29th of August every year. The day highlights the efforts needed to end
nuclear testing to avoid the health hazards and harmful effects on living
What is Nuclear Testing?
that develop nuclear weapons invariably carry out nuclear testing to test the
effectiveness and explosive capacities of their nuclear weapons. Nuclear
testing is a sign of a country's nuclear prowess. The United States was the
first to test in July 1945 followed by the former Soviet Union in 1949. This
was followed by the United Kingdom in 1952, France in 1960 and China in 1964.
India carried out the Pokhran-II test in 1998 which was the second one. The
first time India tested was in 1974.
Hazards of Nuclear Testing
pose health hazards as it releases radioactive materials which are usually
dispersed in the air and on the earth's surface. Nuclear weapons have been
tested in all environments since 1945 whether in the atmosphere, underground or
underwater. The residual wastes of these tests remain for many years.
can damage organs, bones, skin and eyes. Radiation is
particularly associated with increase in the incidence of cancer like leukemia,
thyroid, lung and breast cancer.
Radiation can also cause mutations in the
genes of an individual. These genes can be transmitted to their offspring,
thereby increasing the chances of genetic disorders.
materials on the surface can seep into plant roots and in turn be consumed by
animals. Consuming contaminated vegetation and animal food source can
indirectly damage human health too.
long term effects and damages caused by nuclear exposure, it is significant
that the world adopts a ban on nuclear testing. In the 1950s there was
widespread concern regarding the damage done by the dispersal of
radionuclide-strontium-90 due to nuclear testing. This material contaminated
mothers' milk and in turn affected the teeth of babies. Advocacy from several
groups led to the conclusion of the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), where the
involved countries agreed not to conduct land, outer space and under water
tests. The ban was however, not on testing
nuclear weapons underground.
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the United Nations
General Assembly on 10 September 1996. So far, 183 countries have signed and
164 have ratified it.
International Day Against Nuclear Tests 2015
International Day against Nuclear Tests was meant to inform and educate
nations, member states, non-governmental organizations, academic organizations,
youth networks and media on the critical need for a nuclear-free world. The
preamble of the resolution states, "...that every effort should be made to end
nuclear tests in order to avert devastating and harmful effects on the lives
and health of people...and, that the end of nuclear tests is one of the key means
of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world." According to UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon, "A world free of nuclear weapons would be a global public good of
the highest order."
Day against Nuclear Tests brings home the concept of global public good. The
threat of nuclear weapons and the hazards of testing go against the public good
and generate an atmosphere of threats and fear. The United Nations encourages
every nation and member state to create a safe environment for nature and human
populations by abjuring the development and testing of nuclear weapons.
activities mark this day across the world as advocacy and activist
organizations encourage a total ban on nuclear testing. It is important for
civilians and government of countries across the globe to be aware of the
dangerous fallouts of nuclear testing. The exposure can cause harm across
generations and threaten the natural environment. Marking this day is important
to drive this point across the globe that nuclear testing is unsafe for both
nature and humans.