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B6-0573/2006
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    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION

    24.10.2006

    to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
    pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
    by Roberta Angelilli
    on behalf of the UEN Group
    on the export of toxic waste to Africa

    Postup : 2006/2642(RSP)
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    B6-0573/2006
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    B6-0573/2006
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    B6‑0573/2006

    European Parliament resolution on the export of toxic waste to Africa

    The European Parliament,

    –  having regard to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal,

    –  having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

    A.  whereas around 500 tonnes of chemical waste have been dumped in several areas in the neighbourhood of Abidjan, where 5 million people live,

    B.  whereas eight people have died so far and many thousands have been taken to hospital for treatment for nosebleeds, diarrhoea, nausea, eye irritation and breathing difficulties; whereas this poisoning has affected in a particularly severe way a great number of children: as estimated by UNICEF, between 9 000 and 23 000 children will need medical assistance, health care and other measures to clean up the environment where they live;

    C.  whereas the consequences of this dumping of toxic waste may be far-reaching, including soil contamination and surface and groundwater pollution,

    D.  whereas the toxic waste was dumped by a Greek-owned, Panamanian-flagged tanker leased by Trafigura, a Netherlands-based company; whereas such sharing of responsibilities creates a systematic and unacceptable problem with regard to the enforcement of EC legislation,

    E.  whereas the Amsterdam port authorities found out about the hazardous nature of the waste when unloading the ship and asked for a higher fee to complete the unloading, following which the tanker crew chose instead to pump the waste back on board; whereas the Netherlands authorities allowed the ship to leave their territory despite knowing about the nature of the waste and about the captain's unwillingness to pay for environmentally sound disposal in the Netherlands,

    F.  whereas the company had the opportunity to dispose of the waste in a legal and safe manner in Europe, but chose a cheaper alternative in Côte d'Ivoire,

    G.  whereas Africa is a dumping ground for all kinds of hazardous waste; whereas Greenpeace has identified 80 sites where hazardous waste from developed countries has been dumped: old computers in Nigeria, radioactive tanks in Somalia, dumping of chlorine in Cameroon, etc.,

    H.  whereas most African countries do not have strong regulations to protect the environment and the livelihood of their populations against hazardous waste,

    I.  whereas all exports from the EU of waste for disposal have been prohibited since May 1994, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 259/1993; whereas the export of hazardous waste from the EU to non-OECD countries has been prohibited since January 1997, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 259/1993,

    J.  whereas the dumping of hazardous waste in Côte d'Ivoire is just the tip of the iceberg of ongoing shipments of hazardous waste from the EU to non-OECD countries; whereas major amounts of electrical and electronic waste are being dumped in non-OECD countries under the pretext of 'reuse'; whereas a significant number of old EU vessels laden with toxic substances and materials are being scrapped in Asia under conditions that are extremely harmful to workers and the environment,

    1.  Calls on the Commission, the Netherlands and Côte d'Ivoire to fully investigate this case, to establish responsibilities at all levels, to bring to justice those responsible for this environmental crime, and to ensure that the environmental contamination is comprehensively dealt with and the victims are compensated;

    2.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to take all necessary measures to provide full assistance to the population affected and in particular to children, by using all available means of support, cooperation and civil protection;

    3.  Considers that these dramatic events demonstrate the need for strong legislation to combat environmental crime; stresses that judicial instruments strengthen the enforcement of environmental protection laws; underlines the need for closer cooperation in the field of protection of the environment through criminal law;

    4.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take all necessary measures to ensure full enforcement of the existing waste shipment regulation;

    5.  Calls on the Commission to put forward legislative proposals to close the loopholes in the current regime and so end the shipments to non-OECD countries of waste electrical and electronic equipment and obsolete vessels;

    6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission, the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Government of Côte d'Ivoire.