31 yrs on, chemical waste still a threat in Bhopal

31 yrs on, chemical waste still a threat in Bhopal

 Thirty-one years since the Bhopal disaster, the Centre and the MP government continue to flip-flop on the disposing of over 340 metric tonnes of packaged chemical waste lying at the factory.

More than 3,000 people lost their lives while thousand  others were maimed after loads of toxic gases spewed from Union Carbide factory on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984.

The toxic waste, estimated to be 346 metric tonnes, is  kept in a warehouse of the abandoned Union Carbide factory.  The Gujarat government had once shown interest in disposing of the waste in an incinerator at Ankleshwar but backed off later in 2008 on technical grounds.

Following that, nearly 40 metric tonnes of lime sludge waste from the factory was brought to Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited in Pithampur in Indore for disposal under the landfill plant. But the plan by the MP government, too, failed because of stiff opposition by the local people.

In 2012, when the Supreme Court pulled up the then UPA government on disposal of toxic waste and set December 31 of that year as the deadline, the group of ministers looking into the Bhopal Gas tragedy negotiated  with a GIZ, a German company, to carry out the disposal of the toxic waste lying at the Union Carbide.

But, after three months of contract negotiations, the GIZ withdrew. The ball hit the court again and the state government has been able to shift just 10 tonnes of waste in the last three years. Organisations working among the survivors of the disaster have condemned the lackadaisical approach of the authorities on cleaning up the hazardous waste.

 “The governments’ (state and the Centre) lackadaisical attitude has allowed a new generation of Bhopalis to grow sick and disabled,” Abdul Jabbar, a victim and convenor of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, said.

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