Deadly toxic waste dumping in Côte dIvoire clearly a crime – UN

The dumping of toxic chemical waste in Côte d’Ivoire that has already killed eight people and led nearly 78,000 others to seek medical care is clearly a crime although who was responsible and the actual nature of the crime has yet to be determined, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) said today.Following a formal request from the Ivorian Government, UNEP is conducting an investigation through the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which it administers.The Convention is now addressing the legal aspects of the situation, UNEP spokesman Michael Williams told a news briefing in Geneva. Under its terms, any nation exporting hazardous waste must obtain prior written permission from the importing country, as well as a permit detailing the contents and destination of the waste. If the waste has been transferred illegally, the exporter is obliged to take back the waste and pay the costs of any damages and clean-up process.The crisis began last month when a ship unloaded 500 tonnes of petrochemical waste into a number of trucks which then dumped it in at least 15 sites around, Abidjan, the West African country’s largest city with about 5 million inhabitants.The waste contained a mixture of petroleum distillates, hydrogen sulphide, mercaptans, phenolic compounds and sodium hydroxide. A few days later, thousands of people started complaining of ill health and seeking medical help. Clean-up of the waste has now started but it is anticipated that this will take about six weeks. Symptoms have included nosebleeds, nausea and vomiting, headaches, skin and eye irritation and respiratory symptoms. According to physicians on duty during the first days after the waste was dumped, the most severely affected patients presented respiratory distress, dehydration and intestinal bleeding. Many people are also seeking medical advice because they are anxious about the potential long-term consequences on their health and that of their children. read more

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Downing Street blunder as photo of Bath used to illustrate Theresa Mays

It is understood the error was due to the stock picture used being mislabelled.Mrs May’s official spokesman said: “This was human error. It was corrected as soon as anyone was made aware of it.”The Prime Minister is in Salisbury today and will be expressing her great admiration for the resilience which the community has shown in response to the attack a year ago.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Downing Street was forced to backpedal on Monday after a social media post about Theresa May’s visit to Salisbury was illustrated by a picture of Bath.A message on the Prime Minister’s official Twitter feed paid tribute to the “beautiful, welcoming” Wiltshire city on the anniversary of the poison attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal on its streets.But rather than a picture of the famous 123-metre spire of Salisbury Cathedral, the message was accompanied by a shot of St John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church 40 miles away in Bath.”I hope that moving forward Salisbury will once again be known for being a beautiful, welcoming English city and not for the events of 4 March 2018,” said the PM in her message.The picture was hastily removed and replaced with a picture of the door of 10 Downing Street, but not before it was noticed by eagle-eyed social media users. Bath’s Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said: “Whilst it’s always lovely to see a beautiful shot of Bath, I think No 10 may have got carried away with this time … plenty of nice shots of Salisbury to use.”Asked about the blunder during a visit to Salisbury, the Prime Minister said: “This was an error which has now been rectified.” read more

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