A lot of people don’t know this… or choose not to remember, but between the years of 1964 and 1973, the US dropped more than 270 million bombs on Laos. To give you a little perspective if you know nothing about the small south east Asian nation, it’s around the same size as Minnesota.
Anyways, while the US dropped all those bombs, a lot of them did not explode. Now, forty years later, the Laotian people are still cleaning up the exploded and unexploded ordinance from their communities.
Photographer Mark Watson found that something pretty interesting was happening to those old bombs on his most recent trip to Laos.
“Scrap from such widespread bombing has been utilized in people’s homes and villages,” Watson said, “for everything from house foundations to planter boxes to buckets, cups and cowbells.”
The fact that the Laotian people have been able to utilize and repurpose these bombs is an impressive feat, especially when you consider that more than 80 million of the bombs that hit the ground did not explode. Even now, the country experiences an average of 2 casualties per week from people accidentally finding an unexploded mine or bomb (usually while farming).
Photos by Mark Watson / Highlux Photo