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    to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
    pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
    by Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Margrietus van den Berg and Dorette Corbey
    on behalf of the PSE Group
    on the export of toxic waste to Africa

    Proċedura : 2006/2642(RSP)
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    European Parliament resolution on the export of toxic waste to Africa

    The European Parliament,

    –  having regard to the EU legislation on shipments, in particular Council Regulation (EC) No 259/93 on the supervision and control of shipments within, into and out of the European Community,

    –  having regard to the Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, as concluded on behalf of the Community by Council Decision 93/98/EEC,

    –  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 neighborhood of Abidjan, where 5 million people live,

    B.  whereas eight people have died so far and some 85 000 have been taken to hospital for treatment for nosebleeds, diarrhoea, nausea, eye irritation and breathing difficulties; whereas the consequences of this dumping of toxic waste may be far-reaching, involving soil contamination and surface and groundwater pollution,

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

    D.  whereas environmental regulations in the North have made disposing of hazardous waste expensive,

    E.  whereas the Amsterdam port authorities found out about the hazardous nature of the waste when unloading the ship, but then pumped it back onboard; whereas the Netherlands authorities allowed the ship to leave their territory despite the fact that they should have known about the hazardous nature of the waste and of 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 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,

    K.  whereas at its sitting of 9 April 2002 it adopted its first reading report on the proposal for a directive on 'environmental protection: combating crime, criminal offences and penalties'; whereas the Council never adopted a political agreement on this proposal for a directive and favoured, instead, a third pillar framework decision on the same subject; whereas the European Court of Justice annulled the framework decision on 13 September 2005,

    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 dealt with comprehensively and the victims are compensated;

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

    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 harmonisation in the field of protection of the environment through the criminal law;

    4.  Calls on both the Council and the Commission to take the necessary steps in order finally to adopt the long-awaited directive on 'environmental protection: combating crime, criminal offences and penalties' and respond to Parliament's first reading position adopted as long ago as 2002;

    5.  Calls on the Council and Commission to close the loopholes in the Basel Convention by introducing the obligation that ships that leave the EU must hand over their slops to the authorities responsible in the last EU harbour they leave;

    6.  Calls on the Council and Commission to take the necessary steps to help developing countries to identify hazardous substances in slops produced at sea and to guarantee safe disposal;

    7.  Calls on the Commission to put forward proposals to close the loopholes in the current regime and so end the shipments to non-OECD countries of waste electrical and electronic equipment, cars and obsolete vessels; believes that exports of electrical and electronic equipment and of cars should always be accompanied by the disposal fee paid by the first owner, as part of the producer's responsibility laid down in the WEEE directive (2002/96/EC) and the end-of-life-vehicles directive (2000/53/EC);

    8.  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.