cultivate culture


Somali pirates claim foreign dumping of waste. Is this true?
November 7, 2010, 11:16 pm
Filed under: environment, politics, Uncategorized

"Don't hit the white ones."

[N.B. this post was written in April 2009. Things are only more confusing now…]

I had heard 2 or 3 months ago an interview with Somali-turned Canadian rapper, K’Naan, in which he explained that the roots of the piracy in Somalia grew from a reaction to illegal dumping and fishing on the part of foreign commercial interests. The violent end to the recent incident left a sour taste in my mouth. I searched the web and found out the following.

Many reference evidence of the dumping of waste, even nuclear waste, in the two decades since the collapse of the Somali government.In particular,  there are reports of large tanks of waste having washed ashore with the Asian tsunami. One would also think that increased hospitalizations coming from the health implications of such waste would be documented somewhere. Despite such potential, I haven’t been able to find any conclusive evidence for such events, even though the claims seem to come from credible sources.

According to this article, the United Nations Environmental Program has done a few investigations on the issue and a spokesperson for UNEP, Nick Nuttall, has verified that the claims are true. The article even reports that UNEP was contracted by the Italian and French governments to investigate allegations of mafia involvement in the dumping.

However, I also found a UNEP report: http://www.unep.org/depi/programmes/Somalia_Final.pdf

which states that certain investigations into dumping by the UNEP did not turn up evidence (see pg. 33, Box 9). I tried to reach Mr. Nuttal by email so he could clarify the results of the report but have not received a response.

[postscript: Strangely, the url for the UNEP report is now invalid and I can’t find the document on their website anymore. Weird…]

[PostScript 2: a book published on the current Somali pirate culture argues for a collapse of internal security forces as one if not the driving force: http://jaybahadur.blogspot.com/]

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