After facing numerous hiccups, the process of conducting trial runs for the disposal of toxic waste lying at the defunct Union Carbide plant in Bhopal has entered its final stage.
The state government plans to dispose 346 tonnes of toxic waste at Pithampur-based treatment, storage and disposal facility (TSDF).
“With Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) giving the green signal, preparations are afoot to conduct trial runs at the facility. The trial runs should happen within one month,” an official of Ramky Enviro Engineers' TSDF facility said requesting anonymity.
A few months ago, the company had submitted the estimated cost to CPCB, which had forwarded the same to the Union environment ministry for approval. The trial runs will take place under the watch of CPCB.
In April 2014, the Supreme Court had directed the MP government to conduct trials using 10 metric tonnes of toxic waste at the Pithampur waste-disposal facility. In 2013, as a prelude to the trials, 10 metric tonnes of toxic waste from an insecticide plant in Kochi was incinerated at the facility.
The state government will provide logistical support for safe transport of the material to Pithampur from Bhopal.
While local NGOs and villagers living near the facility have opposed the move, the CPCB had in an affidavit in August 2013 assured the Supreme Court that the toxic waste could safely be disposed of at the incineration facility in Pithampur.
Sources said the waste, packaged in small bags of about 20 kg each, will be transported in leak-proof, specialized tankers as per CPCB guidelines.
The state government, which run the entire exercise in coordination with the Union government, is yet to work out a final schedule for the process.
Sources revealed that fearing opposition from the NGOs that believe the Pithampur plant is not safe, the dates of trial runs would not be made public.
“We plan to move the green tribunal over the issue,” NGO Lok Maitri member Gautam Kothari said.
In the past four years, the state government's efforts to dispose of the toxic waste from the Union Carbide plant in facilities outside the state have failed.