Trafigura may have recently produced recommendations for a more ambitious carbon tax than the IMO and shipping industry have previously considered, but a new Amnesty International feature shows the multinational oil trading company also has a history of producing toxic waste as a result of petroleum refinement processes, and inappropriate disposal practices have created issues for developing nations where jurisdictional regulations are not as stringent.
Malta, Italy, Gibraltar, The Netherlands and Nigeria have refused to dispose of the waste, ending up being dumped illegally in Côte d’Ivoire by a local company that Trafigura hired to dispose of it for just US$17,000 – the location of the waste remains unknown.
The toxic waste is a result of ‘caustic washing’, a process used by Trafigura to ‘clean’ an extremely sulphurous, but cheap, petroleum product called coker naphtha, which is mixed with gasoline and sold petrol. The byproducts are expensive to dispose of, requiring special facilities and technical processes, and Amnesty International asserts Trafigura has not borne the costs of proper disposal on numerous occasions.
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