Friday, September 08, 2006

Africa: The world's dumping ground?

Low regulations, political instability and developed country firms seeking to avoid regulation costs have all resulted in Africa becoming a dumping ground for the world's toxic waste. So claims a recent UN report. The most recent example of hazardous waste being dumped resulted in 3 deaths and caused illness amongst hundreds in the Ivory Coast.

"Africa is generally considered the most vulnerable of the continents," said Michael Williams, spokesman for the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP). "There are any number of cases in Africa where ships dump their cargoes or leave their entire ship and let it rot," he said. He said the United Nations lacked statistics on the numbers of
people killed or made sick by waste.

It seems the problem is worsening;
"The amount of waste on the move is increasing rapidly," a U.N. report said, estimating that "between 1993 and 2001 the amount of waste criss-crossing the globe increased from 2 million tonnes to more than 8.5 million tonnes." But it said that not all countries reported shipments.

Has Africa become the ultimate pollution haven?

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