The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB’s) claim that the at Union Carbide plant can be incinerated at Pithampur facility has upset the NGOs and local villagers, who are once again gearing up to oppose the move.
Indore-based NGO Lok Maitri claims that the TSDF (treatment, storage and disposal facility) site in Pithampur has been designed only for disposal of industrial waste and not for toxic Union Carbide waste.
In June, trial runs were conducted at the facility using 10 tonnes of toxic waste from a Kochi-based pesticide unit.
“All insecticides are not methyl isocyanate and there is a question mark over the report. The whole thing (trial runs) has been done in an opaque manner and it is not acceptable,” Lok Maitri member Bharat Chhaparwal said.
Another city- based NGO, Abhyas Mandal, has also opposed the move.
“This is a very unfortunate development for Indore and Pithampur. We have been carrying out our struggle since a very long time and were also given assurance by Jairam Ramesh (former union environment minister) during his Pithampur visit. We will once again start an agitation if there is any move to dispose the toxic waste in Pihampur,” Shivaji Mohite of Abhyas Mandal said.
On Friday, the CPCB informed the Supreme Court that the 350 tonnes of toxic waste lying on the Union Carbide plant premises can be burnt at the Pithampur incinerator.
The CPCB said the trial run of similar toxic waste sourced from a Kerala-based public sector undertaking was successful.
The Madhya Pradesh government has sought time to respond to the CPCB’s claim. The court has given the state government ten days to file a reply.
“We will request the state government to oppose it tooth and nail,” Chhaparwal said.
The NGO said the trial run conducted using chemical Endosulfan had no meaning as it was not similar to the hazardous waste of Union Carbide plant.
The move for waste disposal and trial run has come for opposition from other quarters as well.
Tarpura village, which is situated barely 200 meters from the facility in Pithampur, have reacted strongly to the move.
Former head of the Pithampur municipal council, Mangibai Kesaria, resident of Tarpura, demanded that the incinerator should be shifted half-a-kilometre as specified under the safety criteria of the CPCB.
However, officials of the Ramky facility, where the toxic waste is proposed to be disposed, maintain that the facility is suitably equipped to handle the toxic waste.
In the past, the state government has tried to have the waste incinerated outside India but with little success.
German firm GIZ pulled out after making a proposal for incinerating 350 tonne toxic waste allegedly after a minister asked for bribe.