Senegal to send contaminated sand to China

Senegalese authorities are planning to send lead waste in sand to China for treatment after the waste killed 20 children in Dakar in 2008, a senior official said Monday.

“The ministry is trying to come up with 200 million CFA francs (305,000 euros, 395,000 dollars) to transport the sand to China where it will be treated,” said the head of the Senegalese environment and protected sites office, Cheikh Ndiaye Sylla.

The office brought journalists on Monday to a site near the village of Mont-Rolland, 85 kilometres (50 miles) from Dakar where they could see about 15 young men in masks and gloves putting the contaminated sand into sacs.

Villagers have demanded the removal of the waste which was dumped at the end of June and early in July near their land after killing 20 children in the capital Dakar in 2008.

The sand dumped at an unfinished disposal plant in Mont-Rolland came from the Thiaroye suburb of Dakar, where a score of children died of lead poisoning in 2008, while many adults were sick.

The pollution came from attempts to recover the lead while recycling motor batteries on the black market. The illicit depot was eventually sold to an Indian firm.