Land owners in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands are being offered grants and favourable loans to clean up contaminated land sites.

The obscure Micronesian islands are unexceptional apart from their accidental importance during the Second World War when they momentarily achieved historical importance.

They were used as a launch pad for the planes which dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their waters were also as the scene of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, an incident which led to the largest documented mass shark attack known to history.

The Islands are now US dependencies and the American Environmental Protection Agency is now offering islanders low-interest loans to cover 60% of their clean-up costs and a grant to cover the remaining 40%.

Sam Bond

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