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Ivory Coast toxic waste row comes to Europe

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Ivory Coast toxic waste row comes to Europe

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Officials in Ivory Coast have asked Estonia to detain a Panamanian-registered tanker at a Baltic port. Eight people have now died following exposure to 500 tonnes of toxic waste alleged to have been discharged from the vessel in Abidjan last month. 40 000 people have been treated for nausea, breathing problems and nosebleeds. Campaigners from the environmental group Greenpeace have surrounded the tanker concerned in the port of Paldiski and are demanding a european inquiry be launched.

But officials in the Baltic state have rejected their demands. They are awaiting results from fresh tests to determine whether the ship’s presence poses a threat to their own environment. The Dutch company Trafigura said independent analysis showed that the waste met international safety standards. Officials say they also warned the contractor in Abidjan that the sludge must be disposed of properly. Nevertheless, 10 people including two Trafigura employees have been arrested.