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Bhopal still awaits toxic junk disposal 35 yrs after tragedy

THE ASIAN AGE. | RABINDRA NATH CHOUDHURY
Published : Dec 4, 2019, 2:31 am IST
Updated : Dec 4, 2019, 2:31 am IST

Test incineration of one metric ton of toxic waste from the plant site was conducted in Pithampur area in Indore district in 2015.

The only measure undertaken by the MP government to mitigate the environmental problems was the compilation of around 337 metric tons of chemical waste of the factory and their storage in a godown at the disaster site.
 The only measure undertaken by the MP government to mitigate the environmental problems was the compilation of around 337 metric tons of chemical waste of the factory and their storage in a godown at the disaster site.

Bhopal: Three-an-a-half decades have passed since the disaster, caused by leakage of deadly methyl isocyanate (MIC) in the pesticide plant of Union Carbide here, struck Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh in the night of December 2-3, 1984, leaving over 15,000 people dead and impacting even the third generation of survivors, but the toxic waste of the killer factory was yet to be disposed of.

Thanks to the tussle between the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB), an estimated 10 metric tons of highly toxic waste, buried inside the premises of the now-closed factory, were yet to be disposed of, leading to contamination of ground water in the region.

“A tussle has been going on between CPCB and MPPCB over taking responsibility of disposing of the toxic waste buried on the factory premises. This has halted the process of clearing the site of the toxic waste, leading to contamination of water from 18 colonies to 48 colonies over three and a half decades,” Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, an organisation fighting for the cause of the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy, told this newspaper on Tuesday.

According to official sources, test incineration of one metric ton of toxic waste from the plant site was conducted in Pithampur area in Indore district in 2015. However, the process was called off following protests by local people in the area.

“We have been demanding the Centre to move the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for technology to incinerate the toxic waste buried in the factory site. But, our pleas were yet to be heeded to,” Rachna Dhingra, another activist struggling to provide succour to the victims of the tragedy, said.

The only measure undertaken by the MP government to mitigate the environmental problems was the compilation of around 337 metric tons of chemical waste of the factory and their storage in a godown at the disaster site.

A report released by the MP government recently said plans were afoot to dispose of 1.1 metric tons of contaminated soil, one metric ton of mercury spillage, the corroded factory weighing around 1,500 metric tons and 150 metric tons of chemical dumps from the site.

However, experts feared that around 11 lakh metric tons of soil in and around the factory may have been contaminated.

Tags: bhopal gas tragedy, mppcb