"Ivory Coast Toxic-Dump Case Settled, Company Says"

"PARIS -- Trafigura, an independent trading company, said Sunday that it had settled a long-running toxic dumping case, agreeing to pay £950 to each of as many as 30,000 residents of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, who said they were injured by a dump in 2006.

The deal, worth about $1,500 for each of the claimants who accepts the settlement, was confirmed with the plaintiffs’ lawyers Saturday night, Eric de Turckheim, Trafigura’s director, said by telephone. Final settlement of the claims awaits only the approval of Alistair Geoffrey MacDuff, the British judge overseeing the case, de Turckheim said.

The disaster occurred in August 2006, when Trafigura paid Compagnie Tommy, a local operator, to dispose of waste generated by the treatment of low-quality gasoline. Tommy dumped 500 tons of the “slops” — a mixture of petrochemical waste and caustic soda — in open landfills around Abidjan. The chemicals killed 15 people, according to official estimates, and more than 100,000 were made nauseous and vomited from the fumes."

David Jolly reports for the New York Times September 21, 2009.

Monday, September 21, 2009