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close this bookThe Long Road to Recovery: Community Responses to Industrial Disasters (UNU, 1996, 307 p.)
close this folder4 Seveso: A paradoxical classic disaster
close this folderThe lessons of Seveso
View the documentA model for managing uncertainty
View the documentModelling the Seveso disaster
View the documentModelling the Seveso Directive
View the documentModelling the Karin B incident
View the documentA moral paradox
View the documentA scientific paradox
View the documentIndustrial accidents, industrial society, and recovery

Modelling the Karin B incident

Finally, the model can also be applied to the Karin B incident. Some 12 years after the Seveso gas release, a shipload of Italian industrial toxic wastes was first dumped in Nigeria and then reloaded after protests. In the full glare of publicity and widespread public dread, the regions of Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany undertook the final task of disposal, in the process showing how a large quantity of mixed toxic wastes could be managed, with full satisfaction of technical requirements and local concerns.

Between the time that the Karin B was discovered to be carrying a toxic cargo and the eventual agreement on destruction of the wastes, all uncertainties were effectively out of control. Whoever knew about such shipments had previously kept them secret; when they were discovered, therefore, all the issues of knowledge, uncertainty, and responsibility came into play simultaneously. However, when the regional authorities of EmiliaRomagna and Tuscany together with several local authorities - finally took physical possession of the wastes, the change was dramatic. Acting in cooperation with each other and with the media, and creating opportunities for the participation of interested communities, they were able to reduce salient uncertainties, starting with the scientific ones and then proceeding to others, such as institutional uncertainties. The societal uncertainties became less severe and less salient, and the clean-up operation proceeded peacefully to a successful conclusion in all respects (Centro Informativo Karin B 1992; Egidi 1993).