How to Destroy 17,000 Weapons in an Hour?

by Djordje Milosevic, SEESAC intern

Every passing minute another person in the world is killed by a gunshot.

Civilians now possess 30 percent more guns than passenger vehicles. What if we started destroying them? Oh wait, we actually already have.

It was my second day of work at SEESAC (a UNDP project designed to control and reduce the number of small arms in South and Eastern Europe), when we went to watch the destruction of 17,000 guns.

Before we arrived at the recycling centre in Zeleznik near Belgrade, I couldn’t even imagine what the disposal would look like. I soon witnessed one of the most impressive ways to destroy a huge amount of weapons very quickly.

Two huge trucks, fully loaded with different kinds of guns were coming our way, followed by police vehicles.

After the area was secure and we walked behind the line where it was safe to watch, they began unloading the trucks. In a matter of minutes, a huge pile of weapons was lying in front of a giant shredder.

A huge handle started grabbing guns from the pile and placing them in the noisy shredder. Scrap was coming out on the other side. All those deadly weapons were not usable any more: destroyers were being destroyed.

You couldn’t even recognize that those were guns just few minutes before. Now they were just making another pile, but this time it was a pile of metal scrap – recyclable, of course.

We have been supporting destruction of guns in the Western Balkans for more than a decade now.

Watching just a small part of that process has really given me hope for the future of this region. Because a world with fewer guns is a better and safer world.