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Rob White

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Toxic Cities: Globalizing the Problem of Waste

The author explores the political economy of toxic waste disposal. It is discussed within the context of a global environment within which such disposal has become highly expensive and highly politicized. The article focuses mainly on the story of Abidjan, the capital city of the Ivory Coast in Western Africa. Sixteen people died there and many thousands of others were poisoned due to exposure to toxic waste dumped in the city in August 2006. White provides a detailed description of what happened in Abidjan, including the social, political, and economic causes and consequences of the event. In this instance, Western sustainability has appeared to have been propped up by Third World disaster. Why this is so, and who is to blame, are essential questions for understanding and acting in relation to toxic disasters such as this.

toxic waste, Ivory Coast, Abidjan, commodification, Trafigura, globalization, corruption

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 3 (2008-09): 107-119