Oil Company to pay $200 million for dumping toxic waste in Ivory Coast
A Dutch-based oil company agreed to pay the government of Ivory Coast $200 million to settle a lawsuit claming the company illegally dumped toxic waste in Abdijan last year, according to the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/15/world/africa/15ivory.html?_r=1&oref=slogin).
The company, Trafigura, which operates out of London, said the settlement wasn't an admission of guilt. The money will be used to build a new waste disposal plant and hospital.
At least ten people died and thousands were injured last August when the waste was dumped at several, densely populated sites. The spill also swamped the country's health care system, and caused the overthrow of several cabinet members in the government.
Last July, Trafigura sent their waste on the Probo Koala, a ship, to Amsterdam. However, the waste was too concentrated and potent that the waste disposal company in Amsterdam raised the price of waste disposal. Instead, the waste was redeployed to the Ivory Coast and put in the hands of the company Tommy. However, this company didn't have the supplies or knowledge to properly dispose of the waste, leading to the illegal dumping.
According to the Associated Press, in addition to the cash settlement, the Ivory Coast government released three Trafigura executives that were arrested in conjunction with the spill (http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6420435,00.html).
The Times article begins by discussing the settlement, but then quickly shifts to the context of the spill and its effects on the people of Ivory Coast. The middle portion is a chronological story of how the waste got to be spilled and that part is very effective. It waits until the end to bring in some more of the debate involved. It also waits until the end to use the majority of its quotes. The AP article works quite similarly. It puts the conflict a little earlier in the story and uses more quotes. It goes into more specifics about the spill, but it waits until the very end to do so. I liked both articles and I especially like that they placed the story within a wide enough context so the reader could understand the whole issue. I found it surprising both writers focused more on the spill than on the settlement, but I liked that facet.