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Centre decides to send Bhopal waste to Germany

The Group of Ministers on Bhopal Gas Tragedy has decided to dispose of in Germany the toxic waste lying on the Union Carbide premises.

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal |
May 22, 2012 12:32:47 am

The Group of Ministers on Bhopal Gas Tragedy has decided to dispose of in Germany the toxic waste lying on the Union Carbide premises.

Madhya Pradesh’s Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Babulal Gaur,who attended the GoM meeting in Delhi on Monday,said the Union Environment and Forests Ministry had given its consent to amend rules,if required. The GoM asked the state government to get a detailed proposal from GIZ IS,the German firm that has offered to dispose of the waste for less than Rs 10 crore,examine and forward it with its consent to the Centre for approval. MP was told the proposal could be put before the GoM,which will meet on June 8. The Centre will bear the cost of the disposal.

Ironically,this waste is not connected to the leakage of the MIC on December 2-3,1984 that took thousands of lives,but owes its existence to indiscriminate dumping of chemicals between 1969 and 1984. Without moving an inch from the defunct plant,about 350 MT toxic waste has acquired a life of its own in the last few years. After the deadly leakage from tank number 610,the MIC still existed in two more tanks,and the only way to neutralise it without causing further damage was to make pesticide Sevin. The plant was made operational and Sevin was manufactured over six days from December 16,1984.

So while the killer MIC was dealt within the same month,it was the contamination of soil and groundwater,both inside and around the 67-acre premises that continued to take a toll on people’s health. However,the stored waste has not been subjected to any tests to find out how much toxicity is left after so many years.

After a 2004 petition in the MP High Court,Ankleshwar,Pithampur,a DRDO facility near Nagpur and Mumbai Waste Management Ltd near Taloja were suggested by courts for the disposal of waste. The next potential address was Hamburg,Germany. Representatives of GIZ visited Bhopal recently.

Alok Pratap Singh of Zahirli Gas Sangharsh Morcha,on whose petition the HC laid a roadmap for the clean-up in 2005,finds it difficult to believe that the waste can’t be incinerated in India.

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