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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Can we stop toxic dumping?
Ivory Coast toxic dumping site
The toxic waste scandal in Ivory Coast has claimed the lives of eight people and caused thousands to seek hospital treatment. Is Africa in danger of becoming a toxic dumping ground?

More than 40,000 people in Abidjan have been treated in hospital after a company discharged 500 tonnes of waste in sites around the port city.

Ivory Coast is not the only African country to experience toxic waste dumping. Ghana, Kenya and Guinea Bissau have seen similar cases in recent years.

Have there been toxic waste scandals in your country recently? How did your government deal with it? How did it affect your daily life?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

Yes we can stop toxic dumping in Africa if we keep away from power corrupted leaders who will do anything for money.
Asha Hargeisa, Somalia

Very sad, very sad! I was once told that Africa is a dustbin of the West. It was very hard to believe and is inhumane! After all, there is no any reason for the West or any other person to dump any waste on Africa's soil. It is unfortunate that some of our unconscious leaders take all of the nonsense from their so-called colonial masters.
Arnaud Emmanuel Ntirenganya, African

Toxic waste dumping is happening in almost in every country in Africa. Normally these so called investors come here to Africa after analysing only the financial viability of their portfolios but they don't analyse the environmental issues and they are not bothered whether the chemicals will harm the Africans or not. Mainly they take advantage of our poverty and they know that we have no choice but to accept their investments. We are all humans and equal for that matter and should be protected regardless of our financial status. Africa is not a dumping place, not only for the chemicals but garments as well. We need brand new things here not used ones.
Allanie Njateni Mtengowanthenga, Dowa, Malawi

The recent toxic waste in Ivory Coast is a serious Human Rights issue. Mostly the waste in question is from a developed country. They take their waste and look for place in Africa and other Third World Countries to use as their dump site. We need laws that will protect our people and the environment. If it is illegal to dump waste like this in the UK, it should also be illegal for a British firm to go through a third party to dump their waste in Africa and other parts of the world. The deaths and other health risks involved in the recent incident is an indication to us all to make the world a safe place for all. Our children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and all family members as well as plants and animals deserve to live in a healthy environment like all people everywhere. There should also be an investigation into where it came from, who brought it, why, and if authorities in that country knew about the deal, and a high level prosecution of those responsible. We are tired of these ills in society. The looting of our resources and killing our people like this is a very shameful situation that the World is again silently watching.
Harrison Brisbane, Liberia

From used stuff to industrial waste, they are sent to Africa. Toxic waste was dumped in Koko, Delta state of Nigeria in the 1990s. The then president ordered the waste to taken back to Italy where it came from. Dumping waste in a foreign land will not be possible without the collaboration of some of the citizens who may have collected money and undermine the safety and well being of their fellow citizens. The good thing about the incident in Nigeria was that the military government took immediate action. It brought life to a halt in the affected areas. What happened in these countries is wake up call to other African countries. They should be more vigilant and put stringent laws in place to severely punish offenders. A crime of this magnitude should either be the death penalty or life imprisonment. Africa has enough to contend with and we don't need toxic waste in our land. Africans should stop betraying their fellow citizens. The waste should be taken back to where it came from without any further delay. Why was it not disposed in the country that it was taken from? If nothing drastic is done, history will repeat itself. It is very sad and unfortunate that Africa has become a dumping ground for Western waste products.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

Dumping toxic wastes is the order of the day especially by investors. Sometimes African countries don't have laws against such dangerous habits and in other instances, corrupt law enforcement officers mean the problem is not acted on. African city authorities should do more to protect the lives of citizens.
Jackckson Byaruhanga, Kampala, Uganda

Africa is really at the mercy of the west from toxic trading rules to clinical testing grounds to toxic dumping grounds. I think if toxic waste was dumped in the US or the UK which led to people dying, heads would roll. They would go to war. It would be considered another 9/11. But it is Africa, so who cares if Africans suffer or die? Perhaps they are not human beings.
Hemba Doon, Durham, UK

As reported in Estonian news, analyses showed today that the tanker's internal tanks contain at least some trace amounts of the same chemicals as those which were responsible for disaster in Cote d'Ivoire and therefore the tanker has been held for the investigation by the Estonian Authorities. It is not Greenpeace, but exclusively foreign sovereign countries which may ask another country for ship be held and it has to be done in the correct form.
Estonian Citizen, Estonia, Tallinn

Africa has long been a dumping ground not only toxic waste but also other unwanted or unused items such as clothes, shoes, cars, machines etc. Why do we want to make noise about it only now?
Victor Chambers, Nairobi

This issue is actually rooted in our corrupt and selfish practices. Just like our leaders in the past sold us as slaves to the West, so now are they now allowing our land to be used as dumping grounds. The effects of global warming is affecting Africa disproportionately and why you ask? It is because our leaders allow our natural resources to be exploited with no regard for the environmental consequences. And now, China, the leading exploiter is on a roll. Who to blame? OUR LEADERS.
David Saccoh Wright, New York, USA

After the depletion of our resources the dangerous waste is brought back to us to cause harm and misery on top of our already existing suffering. Toxic waste dumping in Africa can be stopped when the western world feels that Africans are like them and when we eliminate corrupt, power minded and egotistical leaders in Africa.
Akudrabo Geoffrey, Arua, Uganda

We can stop toxic dumping if we can respect and value human lives despite our differences.
Prossy Nannyombi, Uganda

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