Australian waste: Divergence between Robin des Bois and the French Ministry of Environment

22 Jul 2014

Robin des Bois regrets that the French Ministry of Environment decided to refuse the importation of 132 tonnes of chemical waste from Sydney, Australia.

The NGO worked over numerous months with Orica, holder of the waste, and with Trédi, disposal contractor of hazardous waste, to develop a method of operation likely to unblock an inextricable situation in Australia and to reduce, to a minimum, maritime transport risks.

Unfortunately, the Ministry of Environment joined the gang and shares certain caricatures of French and international environmentalist, by not taking into account the benefits of the plan well thought out by Robin des Bois, Trédi and Orica. (cf. Robin des Bois’ viewpoint on the importation of HCB from Australia to France. June 16, 2014)

No other NGO is as aware as Robin des Bois of the extensiveness and the risks of international maritime transport. In particular, Robin des Bois is the only NGO to closely follow for over 15 years the container ship fleet.  It is for this reason that it was decided to load no more than a hundred tonnes of HCB waste onboard the importing vessel. If the 1st test treatment was conclusive, the transfer and the priority treatment of 6,500 tonnes would otherwise have taken place over a period of 5 to 6 years. It would also have lead to other possibilities to treat the entire historical and unique stockpile of waste.

Everyday goods, far more dangerous than the Australian waste and in larger quantities, cross the oceans of the world and transit in French ports, without the same precautionary measures which were to be implemented under the framework of this specific operation. In all logic, the French Ministry of Environment should stand up against this “ecological aberration”* and ban, across the globe, maritime traffic of hazardous waste, as it is carried out today.

Robin des Bois will continue to follow up on the chemical waste stockpiled in Sydney unlike those who systematically protest and who once they consider their campaign to be victorious and once the hype is over move on to the next thing. These constant opponents overlook the risks that thousand of locals and the Pacific Ocean are directly exposed to.

*On July 18 the Minister of the Environment stated that the plan to export the waste was an “ecological aberration”.





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