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Somalia Became "Land of Poison"

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Wednesday April 02, 2014 - 09:47:58 in Articles by Super Admin
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    Somalia Became "Land of Poison"

    Waste illegally dumped in Somalia. Waagacusub.net - Somalia has not had a functioning government for many years; the scores of rusty leaking hazardous waste tanks that have been washing up on their shores prove just how many criminals have been expl

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Waste illegally dumped in Somalia. Waagacusub.net - Somalia has not had a functioning government for many years; the scores of rusty leaking hazardous waste tanks that have been washing up on their shores prove just how many criminals have been exploiting the nation's inability to protect their own waters.

Last 23 years illegal toxic waste dumping in Somalia has led to at least thousands deaths and renewed calls from environmentalists for tighter controls over international waste shipments.

Unfortunately, Somalia is been used as the world’s necropolis for the dumping of toxic materials. Nowadays, it is obvious that this activity is become one of the leading factors that contribute to the hasty deteriorating environment and human health in Somalia. In fact, the effects of illegal dumping can be felt throughout many regions across Somalia. On this remark, most of Somalia’s long sea shores and fishing sources have been polluted by chemicals products that are released from toxic waste materials that are illegally dumped into Somalia.

Every year tons of poisonous chemical sludge was dumped at various sites around the long seashore of Somalia, leading to thousands of reports of people suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, and nosebleeds.

There were no any investigations are underway to find out a floated toxic waste tankers shows every spot at Somali beaches. 

Meanwhile, the incident has many Somali diaspora and environmental groups decrying a lack of proper controls over the international waste recycling market. 

As waste management has become globalized, countries with civilian unrest, no environmental law enforcement, or weak legislative frameworks have become prime targets for illegitimate hazardous-waste dealers, the groups contend.

"Unscrupulous dealers are also globalized," said Somali diaspora member. "Wastes always follow the path of least resistance," Diaspora member said.

"What is happening in Somalia is a series of unfortunate events linked to greed. That toxic waste should have never reached lawless Somalia."

Why Somalia? 

The following is lists of factor that influence illegal dumping in Somalia: 

(a) The Long Civil War: 

The Somali people have not yet recovered from many of the suffering that their societies experienced during the longest civil war in Africa. Also, added to this fact is the humiliation that many Semi-tribal states in Somalia attempts to control the vast natural resources in Somalia by many enterprises and foreign governments has contributed to the modern idea of "neocolonialism,” which in conjunction with other factors could be held accountable for many of the scandals and corrupted politicians that are currently taking place in Somalia, including illegal dumping. In addition, these two factors disrupted the development of many Somali institutions, destabilized the economy of many tribal-state regions throughout the country leaving Somali people ever dependent from the outside world. Also, this condition of dependency has been exacerbated in recent decades with the demand of raw materials. This, in conjunction with many other factors, has caused of many scandals and corruptions in Somalia, including illegal dumping. 

(b) Furthermore, the ongoing civil war, lawless and other socio-economic and political upheavals in Somalia have made the country a save heaven for any sort of illegal activity. 

(c) Also, Somalia’s reliance on foreign aid has made it vulnerable for illegal trade. 

(d) On the other hand, Internal Tribal-Semi States Divisions in Somalia can also be blamed to some extend for the lack of progress on human right issues in Somalia, giving chance to this type of activities as it is with the case of illegal dumping. 

(e) Moreover, the low cost of illegal dumping in Somalia, $ 1.5 per gallon of toxic waste compared to $350 per gallon in the US and in EU, is another factor that can also be blamed for the disproportionate dumping of toxics in Somalia. 

Details about why the waste was allowed to enter the lawless Somali seashore remain hazy. Numerous diaspora voices to UNEP at Nairobi, seeking comment went unanswered.

What is it Toxic Waste?

The widely used term toxic waste is difficult to define. In this fact sheet it includes substances harmful to life and the environment, i.e. wastes with any of the following characteristics: poisonous, radioactive, flammable, explosive, corrosive, carcinogenic (causing cancer), mutagenic (damaging chromosomes), teratogenic (causing defects in the unborn) or bioaccumulative (accumulating in the bodies of plants and animals and thus in food chains). 

Toxic or poisonous wastes are produced during industrial, chemical, Hospitals, and biological processes. Even household, office and commercial wastes contain small quantities of toxic wastes (e.g. batteries, old pesticides and their containers). 

Examples of Toxic Wastes

PCBs: (poly-chlorinated biphenyls): Non-flammable, insulating material used by big electrical networks such as Eskom. 

Dioxins: Produced by burning chlorine-containing substances e.g. plastics; the manufacture of iron and steel, and some organic chemicals e.g. herbicides. Found in bleached white paper. In Somalia there were no labs and scientist to determine Dioxins in fish and sea water. 

Heavy metals: Widespread industrial use, such as in cadmium and nickel plating. Found in batteries (mercury, cadmium, lead) and leaded petrol. 

Radioactive waste: By-product of nuclear power generation and used in medicine (e.g. cancer therapy). 

In Conclusion: Somalia lacks the technology, Scientists and adequate laboratories to characterize and analyse toxic wastes, and UNEP wasn’t answer numerous diaspora and Somali scientist voices to help their country.

By: Haboon Haji Abdi (1)

(1)Haboon Haji is a graduate student at East Africa University of Buuhoodle-Khatumo State of Somalia


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