Thursday, November 1, 2012

Amnesty International and Greenpeace say little has been done to strengthen regulations on toxic waste

More than six years after the release of large quantities of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, but there is nothing to stop a similar catastrophe in developing countries because politicians and courts failed to learn lessons, a recent report.

In 2009, The Guardian led a legal battle to disclose historical ties Trafigura, the oil multinational operator, for dumping tonnes of toxic waste in the countries of Africa three years ago, causing public health crisis that has affected more than 100,000 people. Effects include difficulty breathing, nausea, eye irritation and skin burns.

But such a devastating spill might be committed again in developing countries, according to a three-year investigation by the incident Amnesty International and Greenpeace. Its report, released Tuesday, found that very little has been done to strengthen national and international regulations, even after the spill of toxic chemicals became apparent.

"This experience shows that a company can put a country in a medical crisis through toxic waste, and still get away with it," said Marietta Harjono, Greenpeace activist. "This is a failure at all levels. That is why we are very concerned that it could happen again. "

Trafigura argued that it is responsible for the dumping of toxic waste on the Probo Koala. It was aboard this ship that partially refined fuel has been subjected to "caustic washing" treatment and became nauseous toxic sludge. The report of 229 pages, entitled Truth toxic disputes this, arguing that the company has "no credibility."

Trafigura sent the keeper of a copy of a letter from a page and a half that the company had written to Amnesty International and Greenpeace. He said: "We believe the report contains inaccuracies and misrepresentations important report simplifies difficult legal issues, analysis on unfounded assumptions and draws conclusions that do not adequately reflect the complexity of the situation and selective judicial proceedings before courts five provinces and territories .. have reviewed various aspects of the incident, as well as the decisions and agreements were made. "Simply wrong to say that the problems were not enough to judicial review."

Trafigura declined to say, after repeated requests, some parts of the report are inaccurate, distorted or groundless, or that the legal issues have been simplified.

NGOs who drafted the report Trafigura to face a criminal trial in the United Kingdom. Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said: "It is time that Trafigura was made to face the full legal responsibility for what happened in Abidjan were not people not only by their own government, but by governments in Europe do not enforce their own laws .. Victims still waiting for justice and there is no guarantee that this type of corporate crime will not happen again. "

In his letter, Trafigura said: "Trafigura regrets the impact of the Probo Koala incident had - both real and perceived - and tried to help those affected by the variety of colonies were made is unfortunate -. but totally out of our control - that funds do not seem to have benefited from these people, or projects came to "

The report was presented to the United Nations. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations for the Environment, said: "We will look at this very detailed report on a human tragedy that occurred in a fragile country that would never have happened and must never be repeated - in Ivory Coast or elsewhere. "

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