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Australia plans to ship controversial toxic waste to France

Incineration plant near Paris.
Incineration plant near Paris. Reuters/Charles Platiau/Files

An Australian chemicals firm plans to ship 15,000 tonnes of toxic waste to France. Sydney has tried for years to get rid of this waste, a solvant which is linked to cancer.

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Australian chemicals firm Orica said on Tuesday that it applied to send a vast stockpile of toxic waste to France.

15,000 tonnes of a dangerous solvent called hexachlorobenzene (HCB), whose use has been prohibited in the EU since 1981.

Sydney claimed that the country has no disposal facilities for the waste as some previous plans to ship the waste to Denmark and Germany failed after protests by Greenpeace.

Greenpeace which is opposed to countries exporting hazardous waste due to shipping risks, said that Orica has a facility to dispose of the waste safely in Australia, "but they just want to send it overseas."

If Orica's application is successful, 132 tonnes of HCB will first be shipped to French incineration group Tredi SA.

A method which also raises ecologic concerns about harmful air pollution as it creates high level of dioxins.

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