Mostly for political reasons, rather little research has been done on the environmental impacts of military activities. However, some data on this theme have been collected, especially in North America, the Federal Republic of Germany, and The Netherlands. In this last-mentioned country the overall military environmental impact appears to be considerable, and can be compared qualitatively and quantitatively with the pressures on the environment which other economic sectors impose.
The contribution of the military sector to the world-wide environmental degradation problem is estimated at more than 6%, resulting from its share in the gross international product and the heavy character of military practice in both war and peace-time. In The Netherlands this share appears to be about 2 to 5%, which can be deduced from the military share in the national total consumption of energy. The military use of such poisonous and often rare elements as thallium, thorium, copper, beryllium, cadmium, zinc, and lead, varies from about 10 to 40% of their total national use.