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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Eyewitness: 'Exposed to the fumes'
Sunday Edeh, 27, a Nigerian trader living in the Ivorian city of Abidjan describes how the toxic waste dumped in the city has affected him. He spoke to the BBC News website whilst travelling by bus to the city's Cocody General Hospital.

A young man demonstrates about toxic waste dumped in Abidjan
Hundreds of people have protested and the government has resigned
This morning my nose started bleeding.

Last night a rash appeared. It is all over my body now.

I went to church on Sunday which is close to where some of this so-called toxic waste was dumped and since that day I have been attacked by several illness that I believe comes from the fumes from the waste.

I worship at the Winner Chapel in the Benjaville section of the city, about two or three kilometres (1.5 miles) from my home in Williamsville.

My church is part of the well-known Nigerian Winner Church.

Polluted environment

I left my house shortly after 0800 local time to be there in time for the 0900 start.

The whole environment around there - all the air - was polluted.

Initially we didn't know what it was. The smell was very bad. It made one feel uncomfortable.

Toxic waste being poured into a tank

I, like everyone else in the area, used my handkerchief to cover my nose.

Arriving at church everyone was talking about it, wondering what it could be. We asked our pastor about it. He told us not to worry as he had made some investigations among official sources and had been assured that it was not harmful.

I didn't go near the dumped waste and I haven't been back to have a look or see what has been done about it. I haven't spoken to our pastor since either.

It was until after 1200 that we praised. Our church is very big - about 1,000 people attend. Now I look back I realise that for over three hours, all of us were exposed to the fumes.

Problems

The sickness we are feeling is understandable.

Since making my way home that day till now I have had a headache.

In the evening it is at its worst. Last night I had to lie down between 1900 and 2000. I could not move around.

Yesterday when I started piecing all the facts together and began realising what had happened I went to visit some of my friends from church. They too felt like me.

But some of them cannot even stand up. Their families have taken them to hospital.

I thought I would be OK and that it would pass, but today this sickness is giving me a lot of problems.

That is why I am on my way to the hospital.


Sunday Edeh updated the BBC News website about his condition on Friday afternoon, 24 hours following his initial description.

At the hospital yesterday there were a lot of people - about 1,500 and even more I would say.

The line was so long, I queued for four hours.

Like many others there, I was given an injection and some drugs to relieve the pain. Since last night my stomach has been OK but I still have a headache.

The rash too is still a problem.

I have to go back on Monday.

The hospital is so full that some of the seriously ill people are having to lie outside - everywhere sick people are spread about.

There are so many people needing treatment.




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SEE ALSO
In pictures: Ivorian toxic waste
07 Sep 06 |  In Pictures
Country profile: Ivory Coast
09 Aug 06 |  Country profiles



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