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More Than 4,500 Tonnes Of Toxic Waste Collected In Ivory Coast

File photo: A French team (TREDI) specialized in the treatment of toxic waste fills plastic bags with polluted soil in the dump of Akouedo in Abidjan 21 September 2006. Photo courtesy of Issouf Sanogoand AFP.
by Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) Oct 18, 2006
More than 4,500 tonnes of substances contaminated by more than 500 tonnes of toxic sludge dumped in Abidjan in August have been collected since a clean-up began in mid-September, an Ivorian official said Tuesday. Safiatou Ba N'Daw, head of a government anti-toxic waste committee, told a new conference that 4,517 tonnes of solid waste excavated from 13 of the 17 polluted sites have been collected and isolated.

N'Daw estimated that about 1,000 tonnes of waste and contaminated substances remain to be extracted from the other sites and isolated in containers that will be shipped to Europe for specialized treatment.

The waste was dumped in Abidjan on August 19 and 20 by Ivorian company Tommy, from a Greek ship Probo Koala, which was chartered by the Dutch-based multinational firm Trafigura.

The ship arrived in Abidjan after having unsucessfully attempted to dump the more than 528 tonnes of toxic sludge -- reportedly a mixture of oil residue and caustic soda used to rinse out the ship's tanks -- in the Netherlands.

An Ivorian company which was supposed to dispose properly of the waste dumped it on several refuse sites in the economic capital of Abidjan, sparking a health crisis which has seen a steadily climbing casualty toll in the city of four million people,

As of last Friday, the toxic waste poisoning had resulted in 10 deaths, 69 hospitalizations and 102,806 medical consultations related to intoxications, according to the ministry of health.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Billions of dollars will be needed to alleviate the environmental impact in the Aniva Bay caused by the vast Sakhalin II oil and gas project in Russia's Far East, an environmental watchdog official said Monday. Mass fish and crab kills have been reported in the area, and inspectors earlier established that a vessel dumped a mixture of methylene dichloride and lubricating oil into the bay.

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