The Probo Koala, a ship chartered by Trafigura Beheer BV, a Dutch commodities trading company, docked in Abidjan, the capital of C6te d'Ivoire, on August 19, 2006, to dispose of highly toxic "slops"-hazardous waste created when oil tanks are washed out with caustic soda. The ship offloaded the slops into trucks, ostensibly owned by a "certified local company, Compagnie Tommy." The trucks then fanned out around the capital, dumping at least 500 tons of petrochemical waste into at least 15 sites. The slops contained hydrogen sulfide, which in concentrated doses is potentially lethal. Residents were soon struck by the stench of rotten eggs and began suffering from "nosebleeds, nausea and vomiting, headaches, skin and eye irritation and respiratory symptoms." Ground water supplies and other drinking water systems were contaminated. As of November 24, 2006, the waste had killed at least twelve people and led over ioo,ooo individuals to seek medical care.
International Environmental Law Gets Its Sea Legs: Hazardous Waste Dumping Claims Under the ATCA,
Yale L. & Pol'y Rev.
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