Trafigura’s toxic legacy in Côte d’Ivoire
Experts available for interview on anniversary of waste dump
Dozens of local residents have told Amnesty International they fear the long-term health impact of toxic waste belonging to multinational oil trader Trafigura dumped in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, exactly eight years ago tomorrow.
An Amnesty International research mission has gathered testimony from the Akouedo community, where the waste was illegally dumped on the night of 19 August 2006. The dumping caused a human and environmental disaster with over 100,000 people seeking medical assistance and substantial decontamination being required.
“We met people with heart-rending stories of the losses they have experienced because of the toxic waste dumping” said Seema Joshi, Head of Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights team.
“The community is now particularly worried about their children, who continue to suffer ongoing health issues. Eight years later these people still don’t know how contaminated their environment is and how dangerous it is to live there.”
Almost all of those Amnesty International spoke to say they can still smell the toxic waste after heavy rains and complained that there has not been an adequate clean-up operation.
Doctors in the capital told Amnesty International they are deeply concerned that ongoing pollution is causing respiratory problems in children. They said that the government had failed to carry out any official health study of people affected by the toxic waste dumping.
The United Nations Environmental Programme is due to carry out an environmental audit of the dumpsites later this year, and Amnesty International is urging the Côte d’Ivoire government to make its findings public. The audit will determine whether sites are still contaminated and could help establish both the ongoing health implications and the content of the toxic waste – never revealed by Trafigura.
Amnesty International continues to call on the government of Côte d’Ivoire to address the community’s long-standing health concerns, to ensure a full and thorough clean-up of all the dumpsites and to compel Trafigura to disclose the full contents of the toxic waste.
To arrange an interview with Seema Joshi, please contact Max Tucker, Press Officer for Global Campaigns and Thematic Issues, on + 44 (0) 20 7413 5810, email [email protected], or the out of hours press officer (7pm GMT – 9am GMT and weekends) on +44 (0) 777 847 2126