'Europe, Asia dumping toxic waste off Somalia coast'

"It is a disaster off the Somali coast, a disaster (for) the Somali environment, the Somali population," the UN special envoy for Somalia said.

'Europe, Asia dumping toxic waste off Somalia coast'

The UN special envoy for Somalia on Friday sounded the alarm about rampant illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste off the coast of the lawless African nation.

"Because there is no (effective) government, there is so much irregular fishing from European and Asian countries," Ahmedou Ould Abdallah told reporters.

He said he had asked several international non-governmental organizations, including Global Witness, which works to break the links between natural resource exploitation, conflict, corruption, and human rights abuses worldwide, "to trace this illegal fishing, illegal dumping of waste."

"It is a disaster off the Somali coast, a disaster (for) the Somali environment, the Somali population," he added.

East African waters, particularly off Somalia, have huge numbers of commercial fish species, including the prized yellowfin tuna.

"I am convinced there is dumping of solid waste, chemicals and probably nuclear (waste).... There is no government (control) and there are few people with high moral ground," Ould Abdallah added.

Allegations of waste dumping off Somalia by European companies have been heard for years, according to Somalia watchers. The problem was highlighted in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami when broken hazardous waste containers washed up on Somali shores.

On Sunday pirates seized a 52,000-tonne Japanese vessel and its 21 crew members off the Somali coast.

Agencies

Last Mod: 27 Temmuz 2008, 16:12
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