Here’s an UPDATE on the toxic sludge dumped in Ivory Coast back in August. When it proved too costly for a ship run by the Dutch company Trafigura to dispose of the waste in Amsterdam, they continued on to Africa and finally found a company in Ivory Coast that agreed to take the sludge. A few inquiries would have shown that there were no facilities in Ivory Coast capable of handling the waste. Instead, the contracted company filled tanker trucks that fanned out across Abidjan and just dumped it out in various locations.
A ship carrying some 3,000 metric tons of toxic waste has arrived in the French port of Le Havre from the main Ivory Coast city, Abidjan.The waste, which is to be neutralised, was dumped in Ivory Coast in August, and has been blamed for causing the deaths of 10 people there.
In addition, more than 60 people were taken to hospital and up to 100,000 had vomiting and breathing problems.
Ivory Coast has begun an inquiry into the waste, shipped by a Dutch firm.
The ship, the MN Toucan, arrived in Le Havre after a 10-day journey from Abidjan with 141 sealed containers on board.
France’s Ecology Minister Nelly Olin said Ivory Coast had asked for French help because it “was not able to treat” the waste.
Further waste shipments between Ivory Coast and France are expected.
2 thoughts on “Ivory Coast toxic waste in France”
I wouldn’t assume that just because it is an African port then it’s necessarily under-equipped.
In fact, as you can read, Abidjan is considered to be the largest and most modern port in West Africa.
“Abidjan is the chief port, capital (de facto; legislative), and largest city of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). It lies along the Ébrié Lagoon, which is separated from the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic by the Vridi Plage sandbar.
A village in 1898, it became a town in 1903. Abidjan was a rail terminus from 1904 but had to depend on the meagre facilities of Port-Bouët on the sandbar’s ocean shore. It succeeded Bingerville as capital of the French colony in 1934 and retained that position after independence in 1960. Districts within the city include Plateau, Cocody (site of the National University of Côte d’Ivoire), Treichville, Adjame, Koumassi, and Marcory.
The Vridi Canal opened the lagoon to the sea in 1950, and the city soon became the major shipping and financial centre of French-speaking West Africa. The first of two bridges linking the mainland to Petit-Bassam Island was built in 1958.
Abidjan port is the largest, most modern port in West Africa. It has the vital combination of a central and accessible location as well as a developed transport infrastructure. It is a major transit point for West and Central African states using the relatively advanced Ivorian road and rail system. Thanks to the opening of the Vridi canal, this freshwater port handles 90% of the commercial trade to and from Côte d’lvoire.
Trade to and from the region has grown over recent years. Since 1994 OTAL has tripled its number of port calls to Abidjan which is now one of the busiest ports along the coast. The port of Abidjan has a water surface area of almost 2,500 acres, divided into anchoring berths, and mooring buoys for loading rough timber. The land area of 50 acres of warehouses, several specialized facilities includes a banana boatloading dock,a log depot,and an offshore tanker mooring berth linked to the Ivorian Refinery Company by a 17,000-foot pipeline
In terms of trade and commodities, Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s third largest exporter of cocoa beans, estimated figures for 1998/9 export is some 1.2m tonnes. Southbound trade to the region consists mainly of consumerables such as foodstuffs, equipment, machinery, manufactured goods (plastics/building materials,cosmetics) and pharmaceuticals. Northbound trade is increasingly vigorous, with export commodities such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, cotton, timber, fruit, fish – frozen and tinnedand vegetables.
Abidjan is becoming the largest fishing harbor in West Africa; its fleet includes trawlers, tuna and sardine fishing boats. More than 200,000 tons of fish are processed yearly in cold storage.
The port of Abidjan has in total 6km of quay with 34 berths including specialised terminals for containers, timber, fruits, cereals and hydrocarbons”.
OT AFRICA LINE, COTE D’IVOIRE
I made no personal assumptions about the processing capabilities in Abidjan, one of Africa’s major ports. From the original NYT article…
“French, Dutch and British toxic-waste experts and oil traders said it can be easily ascertained that Ivory Coast has no facilities capable of handling high-level toxic waste.”
Follow the link to the original post for more details on the analysis of the waste.