The process of disposal of 346 MT of toxic waste lying at defunct Union Carbide plant here has once again hit a road block with several groups protesting the dumping of this poisonous material at Nagpur in Maharashtra.
The decision to dispose of the toxic waste at a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) facility near Nagpur was taken after the unit evinced interest in it, as stated by former Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh here on May 26.
Following this, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had also issued directives to the state government as well as the DRDO to make arrangements for the transport and disposal of the toxic waste lying in the defunct factory for almost 27 years.
But opposition towards disposing of such a huge quantity of hazardous waste has irked some NGOs and activists here.
According to Rachna Dhingra from ‘Bhopal Group for Information and Action’, an NGO, though the matter is sub judice and will come up for hearing on July 28, the facility near Nagpur does not have mandatory clearances from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board for operating it.
Speaking to PTI, Dhingra claimed that no facility in India is capable of disposing of such a toxic waste safely and demanded that it should be disposed of in any of the OECD (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development) countries as they have a capacity to deal with such hazardous waste.
She also suggested that the cost of shipment of toxic material should be charged from Dow Chemicals, the current owner of the defunct plant at Bhopal.
The activist said while everybody was talking about the 346 MT of toxic waste which was lying inside the plant, nobody thought about the 27,000 MT of hazardous material spread in the Solar Evaporation Pond of the defunct plant which is the main source of contamination of ground water.
The Union Carbide plant is lying defunct since the infamous Gas Tragedy that struck Bhopal on the intervening nights of December 2-3, 1984, following leakage of deadly methyl isocyanate gas that claimed thousands of lives and maimed lakhs of others.
The NGO claimed, which is also a fact that the huge amount of toxic waste lying in the defunct factory has contaminated the ground water source in the areas located around the plant.
Earlier too, a similar decision taken by the concerned authorities to dispose of the toxic waste at Ankleshwar in Gujarat and at Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh was also withdrawn following strong protest from people at both the places.
Source: Outlook India