Friday, 15 May 2009

Toxic Thanet: Trafigura and Thor mercury

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8048626.stm

Toxic waste dumping in Holland and Africa by a company called Trafigura subcontracting to a company called Tommy as detailed on Newsnight (see web article and video clips) following the Margate Apprentice debacle.

The waste was shipped for USA to Tunisia who barred it from their country where the waste was part-processed (at sea!) by mixing with oil and other chemicals off Gibraltar and then shipped to Holland.

The industrial waste was attempted to be disposed of in Holland but the smell and toxicity alerted the authorities who acted immediately to confirm how to dispose of it safely.

This was ignored and the toxic waste shipped and dumped in the Ivory Coast, West Africa.

Trucks then moved the waste at night to several dumps around the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan.

As the death toll increased, the issue came to light.

Thor mercury at Margate was investigated in 1988 and closed for poisoning the water table and several workers.

The equipment and processes were moved to South Africa where as the death toll increased…etc etc.

Thor mercury in Margate remains open and the Environment Agency has subcontracted cleanup of the site to other companies - including Thor mercury.

There is no danger to human health say Trafigura and the Environment Agency… etc etc.

The toxic waste from Trafigura seems far less deadly than mercury.

The EA at Margate say not only is the toxic waste not dangerous to human health but neither are the chemical fires nor the spread of polluted water. And the water pollution in Thanet is largely due to the public pouring oil or paint down the sink.

The pollution of aviation fuel from Infratil flushes from the runway over the drinking water supply and into the road system and into the sea. And has done for years and since the EA notice to cleanup to Infratil in 2005.

And cleanup at Thor since 1988 and now 2009 will now take several more decades.

Unless.

The cleanup at Thor has been very lax.

And the site is extremely toxic.

As you’d expect from a banned mercury factory.

And the EA simply are not moving fast enough to secure the site and clean up the mess.

And neither are Thanet’s councillors, civil servants and MP’s.

Trafigura like Thor previously are on trial in the High Court.

In Margate, the site could be secured by the Police to prevent any vehicles and people moving in and out: "night deliveries or removals" are not unknown for toxin dumps and even mercury traces from soil on car tyres or rainfall splashes pose a serious health danger - for the nearby housing estate, BandQ, Hornby factory and farmland. And the discharge into the water table.

Yet the site could be cleaned up in months.

Or decades.

Who are the Thor site councillors: District and County - and MP's and civil servants?

Where are the FOI/EIR reports on the cleanup: dates, toxin levels, toxin volumes and weights, signatures, emails, documents, consignment notes etc?

Is the clean up a regular TDC agenda item? If not why not? This isn't a candy-floss factory spilling icing sugar.

Neither is the aviation fuel discharge from Infratil or Sericol and the switched-off pumps.

Failed. Failed. Failed.

Time for Change.

2 comments:

Richard Card said...

Have a look at Billo Wrights blog Tim.

Dr Chandrakumar is making inquiries (Kent Health Protection Unit) after I wrote to him.

I have written again asking him to check if K Laundry at Northwood operated from a private water extraction borehole.

If this proves to be the case then in close proximity to the two sources fo aquifer contamination the polluted water was being drawn up and steamed off into atmospehre at the laundry.

I have given Dr Chandrakumar some names of young adult stroke and aneurism deaths and some older (50s) names for brain and bowel cancer and stroke. I am not an expert and do not know if there are enough names to be significant.

Greenpeace may be interested in investigating Thor at Margate (as they did in South Africa) if a case can be made that there are wider consequences ... otherwise they tend to think it is a remit for Council for Protection of Rural England or something.

If you want to contact Greenpeace to make the wider consequences argument you might succeed in bringing their expertise into Thanet Tim.

Best wishes

green said...

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