25 years on and toxicity is still being exported….

25 years after Bhopal where the manufacture of toxic products was “exported” to India the same “export” philosophy – this time with toxic wastes to the Ivory Coast – continues.

I thought I could see signs of ethics returning to the corporate world but I was being too optimistic. “Business as usual and pay a few fines if you get caught” seems to apply. Nobody goes to jail after all.

Trafigura found guilty of exporting toxic waste

A Dutch court has found multinational Trafigura guilty of illegally exporting toxic waste from Amsterdam and concealing the nature of the cargo.

Two civil protection workers pass by a bulldozer clearing a site polluted with toxic waste at the Akouedo district in Abidjan - 19 September 2006

In 2006, Trafigura transported waste alleged to have been involved in the injury of thousands of people in Ivory Coast. The firm was fined 1m euros (£836,894) for its ship, the Probo Koala, transiting Amsterdam with its cargo.Trafigura, an oil trading company, initially tried to clean up low-grade oil by tipping caustic soda into the hold of the Probo Koala. The company tried to unload the waste in Amsterdam for treatment, declaring it as “harmless slops”.

Timeline

Sept 2006 – Thousands in Ivory Coast report falling ill from waste in Abidjan

Oct 2006 – About 1,000 Ivorians sue Trafigura

Feb 2007 – Trafigura reaches $160m out-of-court settlement with government of Ivory Coast

Oct 2008 – Ivory Coast court finds two people, not employees of Trafigura, guilty of dumping toxic waste in Abidjan

Sept 2009 – Trafigura agrees to pay $50m to people in Ivory Coast who say they were poisoned by the waste

June 2010 – Dutch prosecutors accuse Trafigura of illegally exporting hazardous waste to Ivory Coast

Trafigura denies responsibility for the dumping of the waste and any deaths or injuries caused !!

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