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UN: International Community Should Clean-Up Ivory Coast Toxic Waste


The United Nations environmental organization says the international community should help Ivory Coast finance the clean-up of toxic waste from a Dutch ship.

In a statement Friday, the chief of the U.N. Environment Program said it does not matter who is found liable for the dumping. He said Ivory Coast is one of the world's poorest countries, and its citizens should not have to pay for waste removal and rehabilitation.

Authorities say the clean up could cost as much as $30 million.

Ivorian authorities say toxic chemicals were unloaded from a Dutch-chartered ship in August and placed in open air dumps in Abidjan, killing 10 people and forcing more than 100,000 to seek medical attention.

The Dutch company, Trafigura, insists the chemicals were properly offloaded and handed over to a government-certified company.

An Ivorian government commission investigating the dumping has blamed local and government officials, as well as Trafigura for bringing the waste to Ivory Coast.

The report said holes in Ivorian environmental regulations, control failures and corruption by government officials contributed to the disaster.

The report is the result of more than two months of investigations by a government-appointed panel into the country's worst-ever environmental disaster.

The commission has no legal authority to punish those found responsible in the affair, but a criminal investigation is currently under way. Two Trafigura executives are in custody in Abidjan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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