(based on David Pellow´s book Resisting Global Toxics)
In 1978, Owens-Illinois Corporation, a United States´s company, sold all of its property and assets in one Bahamian island, Abaco, to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Until that time, the company had been the largest Abaco employer. Owens-Illinois owned and operated a sugar mill and plantation that, upon its exit, left a dearth of jobs in its wake. Abaco’s economy and employment rate were harmed for many years afterward. Compounding these economic concerns were environmental threats no one anticipated. Left behind on the property were “more than 40 fifty-gallon drums of pesticides" as well as “the herbicide mixture of 2,4–D and 2,4,5–T, also known as Agent Orange.” Although the sugar mill was not located directly near a large population, it was above the water table that served as the main drinking source for most of the island’s residents. A number of the drums were corroded and leaking chemicals into the ground, causing great concern among the island’s citizenry when they discovered these materials years after Owens-Illinois departed. According to the Bahamian Ministry of Health, the chemicals have been stored at the site since 1970. Tests done by laboratories in 1989, confirmed the presence of very hazardous substances such as dioxin (one of the most toxic substances known to science).
In 1991, reEarth, a Bahamian environmental organization and other concerned citizens approached the Bahamian government to request that the site is cleaned up. However, when the company sold the farm, the legal framework that would impose responsibility for any toxic waste left behind was not in place.
After two years of struggle by both local citizens, reEarth and other supporters such as Greenpeace and Global Responsibility and key dialogue efforts in 1995, The Bahamas government declared that "working jointly with Owens-Illinois has had all the hazardous waste disposed of from the sugar mill site" and they had contracted a firm to remove the waste at the cost of $370,000. The company opened all the old drums and repacked the most hazardous wastes in special drums which were shipped to Finland for disposal. Other wastes which were not toxic were disposed of in the Bahamas".