Dumping Toxic Waste

“... the dumping of toxic and harmful waste (in Somalia) is rampant in the sea, on the shores and in the hinterland...." United Nations Environment Programme Taskforce (UNEP) 2005
For decades Somali people have been complaining about the damage being done to their country by the dumping of toxic waste. But it is largely ignored. More coverage is given to the Somali 'pirates', than to the destruction and desecration of Somalia that is occurring. But the poisons and toxins cannot be swept away and the voices cannot be kept quiet.

The 1994 murder of Italian journalist Ilaria Alpi and her cameraman, Miran Hrovatin, is linked to several investigations she was undertaking in Somalia, including the dumping of toxic waste (http://somalitalk.com/sun/alpi.html). These murders cannot be kept quiet. Nor can the dumping of the 60,000 barrels of Australian hexachlorobenzene (HCB) toxic waste be kept secret.

Over the years different media stories have broken about the toxic waste:
“In 1992, UNEP said that European firms were involved in the trade, but because of the high level of insecurity in the country there were never any accurate assessments of the extent of the problem.
In 1997 and 1998, the Italian newspaper Famiglia Cristiana, which jointly investigated allegations with the Italian branch of Greenpeace, published a series of articles detailing the extent of illegal dumping by a Swiss firm, Achair Partners, and an Italian waste broker, Progresso.
The European Green Party followed up the revelations by presenting to the press and the European Parliament in Strasbourg copies of contracts signed by the two companies and representatives of the then “President” — Ali Mahdi Mohamed — to accept 10 million tonnes of toxic waste in exchange for $80 million (then about £60 million).” originally published in The Times, March 2005
The tsunami of December 2004 also supplied evidence. Containers of toxic waste had been seen before, but after the tsunami they could not be ignored. A United Nations Environment Programme Taskforce reported in 2005 that:
“... the dumping of toxic and harmful waste (in Somalia) is rampant in the sea, on the shores and in the hinterland. … The impact of the tsunami stirred up hazardous waste deposits on the beaches around North Hobyo (South Mudug) and Warsheik (North of Benadir).
It is important to underscore that since 1998, the Indian Ocean has experienced frequent cyclones and heavy tidal waves in the coastal regions of Somalia. Natural disasters are short-term catastrophes, but the contamination of the environment by radioactive waste can cause serious long-term effects on human health as well as severe impacts on groundwater, soil, agriculture and fisheries for many years. Therefore, the current situation along the Somali coastline poses a very serious environmental hazard, not only in Somalia but also in the eastern Africa sub-region. 
After the Tsunami
 In 2010 Dr. Bashir Mohamed Hussein, from the SomaCent Development Research Foundation, published a report on the dumping of toxic waste in Somalia and addressed the 14th session of the UN Council on Human Rights.

The evidence is there, over-fishing and toxic-waste dumping off the coast of Somalia is occurring. For decades Somali people have been complaining about the damage been done to their country.
“...this problem has been going on since 1991. And the fishing communities and fishermen reported and complained and appealed to the international community through the United Nations, through the European Union, with no ,.. response in any form at all. They were totally ignored.”  reported in a 2009 US Radio interview with Mohamed Abshir Waldo, Kenyan writer
The Basel Convention, which prohibits waste dumping and toxic waste trade, gives no protection to Somalia. Toxic waste, from predominantly Australia and Europe, continues to be dumped around the Horn of Africa. The situation has been described by the UN Special Envoy for Somalia  as “...a disaster off the Somali coast, a disaster [for] the Somali environment, [and] the Somali population.”

In his October 2011 report, the UN Secretary General stated that 'reputable sources', including Interpol, had provided further evidence on the dumping of waste (UN Security Council, Oct. 2011 (S/2011/661)). Despite the awareness of the dumping though, the focus remains on quelling the Somali 'pirates'. The foreign fishing vessels plundering the waters off Somalia or dumping waste around the Horn of Africa are ignored.

The world is deliberatly turning a blind eye to one alleged crime, and using brute force against the other.

The big picture needs to be looked at – the focus needs to turn from Somali 'pirates' to the international financial markets and those countries and companies seeking to control and use Somalia's resources.