I was stunned to learn that it is alleged that Europeans are dumping waste - including radioactive wastes - off the coast of Somalia, a practice that some say is responsible for the rise in piracy.

Nick Nuttall, a UNEP spokesman, told Al Jazeera that when the barrels were smashed open by the force of the waves, the containers exposed a “frightening activity” that had been going on for more than a decade. “Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there,” he said. “The waste is many different kinds. There is uranium radioactive waste. There is lead, and heavy metals like cadmium and mercury. There is also industrial waste, and there are hospital wastes, chemical wastes—you name it.”

However, the media have been remarkably slow to pick up this story. So I was surprised again when I discovered that Muammar Gaddafi condemned the practice in his Green Book. What international laws, treaties or agreements are being violated by the dumping of wastes - including, but not limited to, nuclear wastes - off the coast of Somalia. If NO laws are being violated, that would be interesting to know, too.

P.S. If anyone happens to have a clue what country or countries are behind the dumping of wastes, that would be a nice bonus, even if some people don't think it matters.

  • 5
    This question could more suitable for skeptics.SE, if you phrase it as: Are Europeans dumping nuclear waste off Somalia's coast?
    – Saibot
    Apr 16 '17 at 7:49
  • 1
    By what justification does the question point at Europeans rather than nations on the same ocean? That would be a rather costly trip. Apr 16 '17 at 21:22
  • That's a very good point. Israel, Pakistan and India also have nukes, and Israel and Pakistan are roughly the same distance from Somalia, I believe. But why dump nuclear wastes near the coast instead of in the deep sea? Apr 17 '17 at 3:00
  • Of course, the radioactive waste doesn't have to be linked to nuclear weapons. It could be associated with nuclear power plants. But that still leaves just a handful of countries as likely culprits. Apr 17 '17 at 3:06
  • 2
    A valid question but...it sounds like you are asking us to undertake investigative journalism on a pretty major scale.
    – user1530
    Apr 18 '17 at 0:17

A UK-based consultancy that works in Somalia, Transparency Solutions, published a report last November arguing that while presently "there is no concrete evidence" of nuclear material being dumped near Somalia on an ongoing basis:

the repeated claims and possible signs of nuclear material, such as reported illnesses among local populations, give weight to calls for scientific evaluation...

The general issue of toxic and/or radioactive waste illegally dumped at sea has been around for decades and does periodically receive media attention. Much (but not all) of this coverage as it relates to Somalia in particular has pointed to likely involvement of an Italian organized crime group.

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