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Trafigura And The Rape of The Ivory Coast: A Censored BBC Story

Trafigura And The Rape of The Ivory Coast: A Censored BBC Story

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Published by The Truth Prevails
A story about a greedy company, Trafigura, that chose to dump toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, that has seriously impacted the health of nearby residents.
A story about a greedy company, Trafigura, that chose to dump toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, that has seriously impacted the health of nearby residents.

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Published by: The Truth Prevails on Jan 28, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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This is Google's cache ofhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8048626.stm. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on 9 Dec 2009 13:53:18 GMT. Thecurrent pagecould have changed in the meantime.Learn more  Text-only version
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NewsnightNewsnight Review
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Page last updated at16:53 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 17:53 UK
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Dirty tricksand toxic waste in Ivory Coast
It is the biggest toxic dumping scandal of the 21st century, thetype of environmental vandalism that international treaties aresupposed to prevent. Now Newsnight can reveal the truth aboutthe waste that was illegally tipped on Ivory Coast's biggest city,Abidjan. A giant multinational is being sued in London's HighCourt by thousands of Africans who claim they were injured as aresult.
 Our investigation took us to Amsterdam where the waste could havebeen safely disposed of. Instead the company,
, went forthe cheaper option and offloaded it in Abidjan.
has always denied that the chemical waste wasdangerous, but we have seen an analysis by the Dutch authoritieswhich reveal it to be lethal.We consulted a leading toxicologist, John Hoskins from the RoyalSociety of Chemistry. He said it would bring a major city to its knees.The waste includes tons of phenols which can cause death bycontact, tons of hydrogen sulphide, lethal if inhaled in highconcentrations, and vast quantities of corrosive caustic soda andmercaptans which John Hoskins describes as "the most odorouscompounds ever produced".
A terrible smell
 It happened on 19 August 2006 in the dead of night. A convoy of trucks from a newly-formed company in Abidjan arrived to take thewaste away. They illegally dumped the first loads at the huge tip inAquedo.A powerful stench soonengulfed the area. The tip'soperators were called out andthe drivers sent packing.They looked elsewhere todrop the waste, tipping it inat least 18 places across thecity and beyond.The Aquedo tip stretches asBy Meirion Jones and Liz MacKean
The truth behind Ivory Coast toxic waste dump
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far as the eye can see. Asscores of waste trucks tiptheir loads, an army of Abidjanis cluster around,children amongst them,brandishing long metal spikes. They pick through the rubbish, lookingfor anything that can be sold.
 We were soon surrounded by people, only too willing to talk aboutthe night the toxic waste was dumped and the terrible smell thatmade them gag and sicken.Just round the corner from the dump,we met Jean Francois Kouadio and hiswife, Fidel.She had been eight months pregnantwith their first child when the fumesswamped their home. Fidel gave birthprematurely and the boy, Jean Claude,died within a day.Their second child Ama Grace wasborn a year later. She too fell ill.The doctors said that Ama Grace "was suffering from acute glycaemiacaused by the toxic wastes".They could do nothing for her and she died.The medical reports state a "strong presumption" that the deaths of the two children were caused by exposure to the toxic waste andJean Francois and Fidel now fear they will never become parents.
Polluted water
 We also visited the village of Djibi, just outside Abidjan. The wastethat was tipped here got into the water supply, killing the fish thatfed the village.The head of Djibi, Esaie Modto, toldus that every last person here fell ill,two thousand people:"There were women who miscarried,and that was very painful. But still,the worst was that three people, twoadults and a girl were killed by thetoxic wastes. That was very hard."So what was it that brought suchruin on a country that in 2006 was still struggling to recover from acivil war?The waste was generated as the result of an oil deal spanning threecontinents.
bought a consignment of cheap and
 heavy oil with a high sulphur content. Instead of putting it through arefinery,
tried to clean it up, using a do-it-yourself method,so they could sell it on at a massive profit.They used a ship called the Probo Koala which they stationed off Gibraltar as a rough and ready refinery. Caustic soda and a catalystwere added to the oil which reacted with the sulphur and settled tothe bottom of the tank.
were then able to sell the oil, butleft with a toxic sludge at the bottom of the tank.
"Smelly but not dangerous"
 The Probo Koala went to Amsterdam where they attempted to unloadthis sulphurous tar as if it were normal ships' waste, which wouldhave cost a few thousand euros.However the fumes were sobad, the emergency serviceswere called and the Dutchauthorities carried out tests.They discovered the wastewas highly toxic and told
that it would costhalf a million euros to disposeof safely.The Probo Koala instead
Watch Newsnight's 2007 investigation intoclaims toxic waste was dumped in IvoryCoast
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There were womenwho miscarried, and that wasvery painful. But still, theworst was that three people,two adults and a girl werekilled by the toxic wastes.That was very hard
 Esaie Modto, head of DjiblivillageThousands of people say they werevictims of the waste
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