Speaking ahead of the 10th anniversary of the illegal dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, a group of UN experts urged the Ivorian Government and all responsible States to address the ongoing human rights impacts of the incident.
The experts said ten years on, victims of the dumping and other residents in Abidjan remain in the dark about the ongoing dangers to their health. The residents still do not even know what was in the toxic waste; whether the dumpsites have been adequately cleaned-up, and whether the waste has entered the water supply or the food chain.
On 19 August 2006, a cargo ship discharged 500 tonnes of toxic waste in Abidjan. The hazardous substances, which belonged to Trafigura, an Anglo-Dutch commodity trading company behind the dumping,were also dumped at 18 sites around the city while many other possible locations remain unknown to date.
According to official estimates, 15 people died, 69 people were hospitalized and over 108,000 others sought medical treatment after the incident.
The UN Environment Programme is due to publish its results and recommendations at the end of the year. The Ivory Coast government has also recently initiated a process to check the health of victims in one of the villages most affected by the dumping.