NSPA marked UN International Small Arms Destruction Day

19 August 2014

NSPA marked International Small Arms Destruction Day on 9 July by assisting Albania in destroying more than 42,000 small arms and light weapons.

International Small Arms Destruction Day was initiated by the UN in 2001 and serves to remind the public about the threat posed by the excess, poorly secured, and illegal weapons, to everyday safety and security.

This project is funded by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and enables NSPA support to the Republic of Albania to destroy up to 100,000 Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) to assist them in meeting their defense modernization goals by removing surplus weapons from their stockpile.  Indirectly, this work also helps Albania further reduce the number of storage depots and reduce the potential risk of proliferation.  NSPA small arms destruction efforts started in early March 2014 and their work is expected to be completed by October 2014.

“NSPA has led multiple industrial demilitarization and disposal efforts in Albania since 2001, destroying significant quantities of small arms and light weapons, conventional ammunition, and anti-personnel landmines,” said Mr. Scott Willason, Chief of NSPA’s Ammunition Support Branch.  “These efforts have contributed not only to improved safety and security for Albania, but for the region as a whole.  We truly are grateful for the profound dedication of all our partners in Albania for these achievements which span more than a decade and to the generosity of the nations which contributed financially to the success of these projects."

Many of the weapons planned for destruction were collected from the general population as part of larger efforts by the Albanian Police and International partners to restore security after a period of civil unrest in the late 1990’s.The weapons are checked for safety and dismantled - the parts cut or crushed to ensure they cannot be reassembled for later use.  All material processed is segregated according to the type of waste, and those materials which have a potential commercial value, such as steel and brass, are sold, whilst other materials such as wood and leather, are burnt as a co-fuel in the factory heating system.