Nation Current Affairs 04 Dec 2019 35 years on, Bhopal ...

35 years on, Bhopal awaits toxic waste disposal

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | RABINDRA NATH CHOUDHURY
Published Dec 4, 2019, 1:37 am IST
Updated Dec 4, 2019, 1:37 am IST
PCB-MPPCB tussle delays disposal of toxic waste, contaminates ground water.
The Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. (Photo: DC)
 The Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. (Photo: DC)

Bhopal: Three and half decades have passed since the catastrophic 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 15000 people dead and impacting even third generation of survivors, but the toxic waste of the killer factory was yet to be disposed off.

Thanks to the tussle between the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB), an estimated ten metric tons of highly toxic waste, buried inside the premises of the now-closed factory, were yet to be disposed off, 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 in 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 half decades”, Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, an organisation fighting for the causes 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, it was called off following locals’ protests.

“We have been demanding the Centre to move the UN Environment Progra-mme for technology to incinerate the toxic waste buried in the factory site. But, our pleas have gone unheard,” Rachna Dhin-gra, another activist struggling to provide succor to the tragedy victims.

The only measure undertaken by the MP government so far to mitigate the environment problems caused by the toxic waste so far was the compilation of around 337 metric tons of chemical waste of the factor and their storage in a go-down at the disaster site.

A report released by MP government recently said plans were afoot to dispose off 1.1 metric tons of contaminated soil, one metric ton of mercury spillage, the corroded factory weig-hing around 1500 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.

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