Australia to send toxic waste to Denmark
Australia doesn't have the technology to treat the 10,000 tons of HCB it produced from manufacturing explosives.
Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 4:48 PM
PRECAUTIONS: Danish authorities will require the waste to be transported in double-hulled ships, with each container equipped with a GPS to allow its movements to be tracked. (Photo: BanksPhotos/iStockphoto)
Denmark will allow Australia to ship thousands of tons of toxic waste into its coutnry to be disposed of because it does not have the technology to carry out the work, officials said Tuesday.
Australia does not have the proper technology to deal with the 10,000 tons of HCB, or hexachlorobenzene, which is produced through the manufacturing of chemical products and explosives.
Danish environment minister Karen Ellemann said her country had to act because of treaty obligations. The shipment and treatment of the waste will also result in a major contract for a Danish company.
Denmark "has the obligation to help other countries when they are confronted to an unsolvable problem," she said in a statement.
Ellemann said it was "very problematic to transport dangerous waste from one area of the globe to another."
As a result, Danish authorities will require the waste to be transported in double-hulled ships, with each container equipped with a GPS to allow its movements to be tracked.
The toxic waste resulted from the production of explosives from 1963 to 1991 and has been stored in the heart of a residential zone between Sydney and the city's airport.
The company that will treat the waste, Kommunekemi, welcomed the decision, which will result in a contract valued at $ 8.3 million.
"Four freighters, carrying 2,500 tones of waste each, should carry these toxic chemicals to Nyborg (central Denmark) over the next three years," said Carsten Fich, the head of Kommunekemi, owned by Swedish-based investment fund EQT.
The first should arrive in Nyborg in October, he said.
Kommunekemi treats some 170,000 tonnes of hazardous waste per year, with about 40 percent coming from other countries.
Copyright 2010 AFP Global Edition
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