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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

AFTER TOXIC WASTE DUMPED IN AFRICA FOREIGN COMPANIES NOW EXPORT DIRTY DIESEL OIL TO AFRICA


Air pollution in Africa: Photo credit: Rob de Jong, Head of Transport Unit at UN Environment


Air pollution in Africa: Photo credit: Rob de Jong, Head of Transport Unit at UN Environment



"Trafigura made headlines when a ship it had chartered dumped toxic waste in the Ivory Coast a decade ago, and the company’s lawyers attempted to gag the press from reporting on a draft report into the incident"



Traders blend cheap fuel with sulphur levels many times the European limit for sale in African countries, says Public Eye Dirty diesel from European companies fuels pollution in Africa, in pictureS.


Major European oil companies and commodity traders are exploiting weak fuel standards in African countries to export highly polluting fuels that they could never sell at the pumps in Europe, according to a new report.

The Swiss commodity traders Trafigura and Vitol are among a number of companies accused of exporting what campaigners call “African quality” diesel, blending products in European facilities to create fuels with sulphur levels that are sometimes hundreds of times over European limits, according to a three-year research project by the Swiss NGO Public Eye.

When the fuel is burned, the sulphur is released into the atmosphere as sulphur dioxide and other compounds that are major contributors to respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and asthma.

Trafigura made headlines when a ship it had chartered dumped toxic waste in the Ivory Coast a decade ago, and the company’s lawyers attempted to gag the press from reporting on a draft report into the incident.

Vitol’s sales last year topped $270bn. Its chief executive, Ian Taylor, is a major Conservative donor, and this summer refused a knighthood.

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Although not part of the report, according to data shared with the Guardian by Public Eye, the British oil company BP also shipped high-sulphur diesel to Ghana.

There is nothing illegal about the practice exposed by the report and the blending of fuels to achieve particular specifications before export is standard industry practice. The companies involved all deny any wrongdoing and say they comply with the law in the countries in which they operate.

Public Eye, however, says the result is “regulatory arbitrage” that allows traders and fuel companies to dump cheap, dirty fuels by blending them into other diesel before export, maximizing profits at the expense of Africans’ health. Erik Solheim, the director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) called the practice unacceptable.

Last week, the World Bank said air-pollution was among the biggest killers worldwide, costing developing countries billions of dollars in lost income. Vehicle emissions are a significant contributor to air pollution, which is why in Europe the maximum sulphur content of diesel has been set at 10 parts per million (ppm) since 2009.

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