The journey to prove Trafigura wrong is long and tedious, but the result worths it. It’s at last proven guilty of delivering hazardous waste to Amsterdam without revealing its true nature.
The Dutch court judgment is important to hundreds of thousands of Ivorians affected by the multi-national company’s exported waste dumped in Cote d’Ivoire.
Trafigura had repeatedly denied criminal responsibilty in the West African country in August 2006, though it had struck a deal with the presidency to pay millions of dollars towards clean-up costs, without accepting liability or responsibility for the dumping of highly toxic chemical wastes from their ship.
Under the deal, President Laurent Gbagbo dropped all charges against the company, released its executives from prison and agreed not to pursue any further financial claims against Trafigura.
For reasons of cost, Trafigura in July 2006 decided to reload and transport the toxic waste to Abidjan for disposal instead of Amsterdam. The toxic transported by Probo Koala killed 15 and sent more than 100,000 to hospital.
This verdict, which unfortunately does not consider the impact of the dumping in Cote d’Ivoire, has opened room for the Ivorian government to take on Trafigura and the Dutch aughotirites for their failure to prevent the toxic waste from crossing their borders.
A failure in taking the appropriate legal remedies by the Gbagbo regime would simpy be a disservice to victims and their families still reeling with trauma and health consequences. With concerted efforts, we can surely halt dumping of hazardous waste in our continent.