Corporate Pirates Strike Somalia

| July-August 2009

It’s a less sensational (read: sexy) story than piracy, the Ecologist (March 2009) reports, but it’s no less serious: Somalia is a dumping ground for toxic waste from Europe. Field research has “brought to light a whole range of chronic and acute illnesses suffered by Somalis,” including severe birth defects and cancers. The Ecologist notes that Greenpeace broke open the story in 1997, exposing Swiss and Italian companies as brokers in the waste trade and leading to probes by Italy and the United Nations. But the dumping goes on, say aid organizations and U.N. officials, and resolution will be a challenge: The dumping has occurred “in the sea, on the shores, and in the hinterland,” says one U.N. report, and it will be difficult to find all the waste and trace it to its source.