Ivory Coast has begun mopping up the toxic waste that was illegally dumped by a Dutch-based commodities company, Trafigura Beheer BV, in early September. The waste, which left eight dead and at least 44,000 seeking medical treatment, was released by the company's chartered tanker, Probo Koala. Wastes still remain scattered at 18 sites in the city of Abidjan (see 'Cabinet resigns over toxic waste', Down To Earth, October 15, 2006).
According to a un Disaster Assessment and Coordination Mission report, the hazardous sludge contains hydrogen sulfide, mercaptan, phenol and hydrocarbon, whose fumes were in life-threatening concentration at the time of dumping. International waste removal experts say the mop up operation will cost us $13 million. who has already sent experts to support Ivorian medical professionals, including a toxicologist and environmental specialist. The uno ffice for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has reassured that Abidjan's water system has not been contaminated, though cautioned against eating produce grown near dumpsites. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast authorities have arrested two senior officials of Trafigura while they tried to leave the country. They are charged with infractions of toxic waste laws.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.