Commodity trader fined for Africa dumping

A Dutch court
has fined the oil-trading company Trafigura $1.3 million over toxic sludge
dumped in the Ivory Coast four years ago.

The Swiss
commodities firm had denied any liability in the dumping, which was carried out
by a subcontractor. The Independent said that the Amsterdam judge Friday found
the company violated European regulations on shipping environmentally hazardous
waste to Third World nations.

Hundreds of
tons of waste listed as “tank washings” were shipped from Amsterdam
to Africa in 2006 aboard a tanker chartered by Trafigura. The Independent said
the company was accused of arranging the voyage after discovering that
processing the material in Europe would cost much more than expected.

The New York
Times said the waste, which contained caustic soda, hydrogen sulfide and other
compounds, was blamed for thousands of illnesses and at least 16 deaths in
Ivory Coast.

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