WalMart to Pay $110 Million for Toxic Dumping

Wal-Mart needs to have a look at what their customers already know.

B. McPherson
Washington DC. WalMart has been assessed an $81.6 million fine for dumping hazardous waste materials into municipal dumps and water treatment facilities. The violations that the company was prosecuted for started in 2006 when returned and damaged packages were routed to Missouri where they were repackaged for sale in contravention with safety regulations. The court contended that while WalMart did not directly dump and repackage hazardous goods, the company that was tasked with handling the material, Greenleaf LLC, was not adequately supervised.

Truckloads of hazardous products, including more than two million pounds of pesticides, were improperly handled under Wal-Mart’s contract,” said Tammy Dickinson, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Environmental News Service

In addition to the $81.6 in penalties assessed in the Missouri case, an additional $28 million in fines has been assessed for improper handling of hazardous waste in California and previously in Missouri.  

WalMart has also been tasked with providing training to its employees regarding the safe handling and disposal of toxic goods.

WalMart is certainly not alone in its violation of the laws both of man and common sense. March 2012 saw Scotts Miracle-Gro fined $4 million plus $400 000 for selling bird feed laced with pesticides which were known to be hazardous to birds. Turns out those who bought their bird seed in 2008 from Scotts Miracle-Gro were likely poisoning the birds who came to their feeders.

Those corporations who would make a profit by despoiling the environment are not rare. The costs to the public are high when the perpetrators are not caught. The $110 million in fines against the world’s largest retailer may seem high, but others might say that it simply the cost of doing business. All the money in the world will not recover the poisons flushed into the sewer systems to eventually reach the aquatic food chain. Poisons carelessly disposed of in municipal waste dumps finds its way into the surrounding through birds, rats, other means.

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