Environmental Racism: Dumping Europe’s Toxic Wastes in Africa Other Poor Countries

by Paul I. Adujie

Toxic and other wastes, which are not biodegradable, are being dumped in Nigeria, African nations and other poor countries of the world. This is insidious and vile!

Why won’t western nations leave Africans alone? First it was slavery, then colonialism, and now? It is environmental racism! Have you heard the news? Environmental racism against Africans is on the upsurge. It is calculatingly malevolent!

Westerners know that toxic wastes are disasters waiting to explode. It is this realization of the magnitude of risks that have led to stringent regulation and control of hazardous materials in industrial societies. There is therefore a correlation between the fear and trepidation of atomic, nuclear and biohazard materials by industrial nations, and these opprobrious efforts to “conveniently” dump these dangerous toxic wastes upon unsuspecting Africans and the poor of the world. Many questions therefore arise. Why the desire to dump toxic wastes on Africa? Why would anyone dump toxic wastes on a people? And what immediate and long term consequences may ensue for the Africans and poor of the world?

In Nigeria, in the Ivory Coast, Somalia etc; toxic wastes have been dumped in the recent past. And as a matter of fact, the Ivorian incident became a major legal battle in Europe and in Ivory Coast. Now, according to new reports, there is quickening of pace, in the use of poor nations as dumping grounds for toxic unwanted garbage generated by Western nations. According to ELISABETH ROSENTHAL features published in The New York Times recently, wastes dumping by rich western nations, into poor countries have become pervasive, all permeating and intractable.

Elisabeth Rosenthal catalogued the horror stories of those, who have become victims of these mostly subterranean; mostly illegal, garbage dumping upon poor nations. Dumping of toxic wastes and garbage through methods which are shrouded, sheathed elaborately, calculated to deceive even, the most savvy of nations. These deceitful channels are so replete with evil intents, imbued with complexly intricate cover-ups. The webs of those who are now dumping toxic wastes are said to be extensive in Europe and North America. They are said to routinely engage in these unconscionable illegal actions for short term gains, all at the expense of fellow human beings on the African continent. This practice of finding profit while causing misery to Africans should be condemned by all. Those who derive financial rewards, in the unconscionable dumping of toxic waste upon poor nations of the world, ought and must be sought out, and punished to the fullest extent of all national and international laws.

History is repeating itself, all over again? If past is prologue, I can only imagine that a hundred years from now, the consequences of the devastations which are being buried or dumped upon our soils now. I can imagine the deaths, and devastations, the maiming and mutations which will then arise, and as is usual these days, 100 years hence, there will be those who will blame Africans for such future disasters, now in the making, disasters which are now being planted, and incubated, once again, by very nice people in Western nations.

In the early 1980s, Sunday Moses in Koko Village in Warri who accepted toxic waste ignorantly, from an Italian company upon payment of some pittance as fees, he soon died of natural causes or exposures to the wastes. We may never know the short and long term consequences of such incidents

Nigeria just like many of the 53 nations on the continent of African do not have hazard management equipment and necessary expertise to deal with a Three-Mile Island, Love Canal and or Chernobyl type toxic chemical disasters. Africa is in essence being set up for doomsday reminiscent of “The Day After” and this is the time to nip this brewing catastrophe in the bud!

This is a continuing strand of connective tissues in the treatment of Africans and peoples of African descent. The smuggling of toxic was is the latest and newest in the barrages of egregious behaviors which have often been directed at Africans and peoples of African descent perennially, by those, who do not see as fellow human beings. They take comfort in devaluing our humanity, and then, proceed to foist upon us, continental Africans and peoples of African descent, such horrors as the depravity of slave trade and slavery. And such complete disregard for our human rights, freedoms, independence, liberty and sovereignty, as they imposed colonialism and imperialism. The newest evil, in these onslaughts of evils and wickedness, is, environmental racism.

Raise alarm. All those with human decency ought to raise alarm at this new expression of evil and outright wickedness which is once again directed at Africans. The immediate and long term implications of toxic waste dumping on the continent can only be measured in terms of 900 million lives of the person on the African continent. In essence, these will be million in human catastrophes, when, and not if, the dams break the dams of toxic wastes which are now being constructed by environmental racists in their conglomerations.

Clearly, it must be said here, and pointedly so, that, there are those in this world who are obviously glad to see Africans as the weakest link in the human chain. There are those, whose manipulations and interference ensures the fragilities of continental Africans. This is why a destabilized Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Congo, would provide ample opportunity for toxic waste dumpers. It is clear, even with a mere cursory look-over that, manipulations, interferences and direct interventions by outsiders, has combined to wrought havoc upon Africans. And further, those who are complicit in these havocs, are quick to then take advantage of resources.

There clearly, are causal connections and links, between internecine crises and control of resources by outsiders, outsiders, who too frequently, act as arms and ammunition suppliers, while doubling as gold and diamond miners; and as well as oil, uranium, copper and bauxite prospectors etc. In the particular case of Somalia, over fishing and dumping of wastes in Somalia have become the signature emblem or landmark of the disintegration of that East African nation. Illegal mining and harvesting have become the driving force in many crises, on the African continent. And this is how the phenomenon known as Blood Diamonds, came into worldwide public consciousness. As Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Congo etc were embroiled in internecine crises, malevolently shrewd financial mercenaries, fueled these crises with weapons smuggled and supplied to the locals, by those with vested interests in goldmines, diamond-mines, oil wells and other raw materials with which the palms of the west is constantly lubricated.

African plights and predicaments are frequently multiplied by those outsiders, who persistently devalue African humanity, through the incessant and relentless ravaging of Africa and Africans! First there was slavery, then, colonialism and now, environmental racism. Africa and Africans are having to constantly dissipating energies in wasted efforts to dig-out and extricate from deep holes, to which Africa and Africans are constantly thrown. It is therefore no surprise at all, that there are hardly any energies and resources left for development of the African continent. Africa was deprived of her human capital through slavery. Africa was then deprived of her economic, political, cultural, linguistic and structural development, through the complete usurpation by colonizers, who imposed alien languages, culture, religion and political systems etc, without regard to local conditions and systems in Africa.

Why won’t they leave Africa alone? The viciousness towards Africa is beyond compare, and history is my witness. Africans have been bearing the brunt of the world’s prosperity, or what would anyone call slave-labor, compelled and free, for the benefit of productive ventures of slave traders and

slave-owners in pre-industrial America and Europe? What would anyone call the exploitation of colonized peoples and nations, deprived of raw materials, for the factories in the nations of colonizers? And now, what would you call environmental racism? Soon enough, when the dire consequences toxic wastes dump will be upon Africa and the poor, there would be those usual revisionists, who would seek to blame Africans for toxic wastes predicaments. predicaments which are now being foisted on Africa

There is prosperity in parts of the world, prosperity, initiated, or created with African blood, tears and sweats, in which the African is not called to participate; prosperity in which, in the end, the African is called upon, once more, to bear the brunt of the toxic wastes, which in itself, arises or were generated from the prosperity, which have never benefited the African! This is a case of multiple jeopardizes and multiple and repeated whamming.

Why won’t the leave Africans and people of African descent alone?

In this century, what is unfolding now, through this toxic wastes dumping, is another tragedy slated for Africa by outsiders. What should be obvious to all, is the magnitude of the catastrophes which are about to unfold on the African continent. It portends ominously, horrendous human event which is foreseeable. It is a well known fact that Africans do not possess equipment, technological knowhow or wherewithal, to contain Chernobyl type nuclear meltdown or its toxic wastes equivalents. It should be clear to all, that Africans are not ready for a Bhopal India Union Carbide type disaster.

It should be pretty obvious to the world, that shipping toxic and harmful wastes to the African continent is tantamount to an irrevocable death sentence to the inhabitants of the African continent. This sinister evil, is clearly motivated by racism, and racism by those who have, all through history, sufficiently devalued the African humanity, so that, dumping toxic wastes for profit in Africa, is business as usual, reminiscent of slavery and colonialism.
Why won’t they leave Africa alone!

Please see:
Smuggling Europe’s Waste to Poorer Countries http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/science/earth/27waste.html

Dirty tricks and toxic waste in Ivory Coast

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1 comment

Cletus E Olebunne October 13, 2009 - 10:31 pm

Paul, I read the same article by Elisabeth Rosenthal. I have a different take. As someone who studied biochemistry, worked as a biochemist, and went ahead to obtain a graduate business degree; I will hesitate to blame the other party when it comes to global competitiveness, particularly in international commerce in any industry, from pharmaceutical to the environmental waste management.

In a global competitiveness, no one will do it for you; you have to do it yourself, as the other party is looking for a way to improve its citizen’s standard of living—both in its economy and environmental wellbeing.

I will not blame the West for our environmental toxic waste—whether generated locally by industries in Nigeria and other African countries or imported into Africa. There is no way a ship load of waste—hazardous or non-hazardous will get to Nigeria or other African countries without a local collaborator. It is pertinent to the local environmental and customs agents to enforce the protection of the borders in an effort to prevent unwanted materials entering the country.

The Western nations are more interested in what comes into their country and are less interested in what goes out, unless for certain technologies that will undermine their competitiveness in military might and commerce.

Most of our local business people, the so called “international business person” are ignorant of what they trade on. The case of Sunday Moses in Koko village is a typical example; I would believe that Sunday was more interested in the little money he was to make than the chemical or toxic nature of what he imported. Being in the pharmaceutical industry, and the waste management industry in the United States has opened my eyes to the dangers of environmental waste. The US EPA has over 5,000 classified toxic hazardous wastes that require cradle to grave disposal and proper tracking and documentation. There is debate now whether for USEPA to classify coal ash as a toxic waste after the Tennessee incidence—where coal ash from a Tennessee coal company is being shipped to Alabama and any other states that may accept it.

The stringent process and procedure of being in the waste management business will keep any unprepared persons out of the waste management business, especially the hazardous/toxic waste in the United States and most other Western countries. Nigeria and other African countries need to keep their houses in other if they do not want others to see them as gullible businesspersons in this extremely global economic competition. So, Paul, my brother, I will rather look inwards for proper enforcement rather than blame the West.

As always, your passion for your country, Nigeria and your continent, Africa is shown in this article.

Cletus E. Olebunne, NY/NJ


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