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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Toxic waste still sits in Bhopal

Manoj Ahuja, Hindustan Times  Indore, December 02, 2012
First Published: 23:36 IST(2/12/2012) | Last Updated: 23:40 IST(2/12/2012)

Twenty-eight years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, the 346 tonnes of highly toxic waste of Union Carbide are yet to be disposed of.

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Over the years, proposals to dispose of the waste - at Madhya Pradesh's Pithampur, then at Gujarat's Ankleshwar, then at a facility of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) near Nagpur and then at a German facility - have drawn a blank.

According to conservative estimates, about 27,000 tonnes of waste - apart from 346 tonnes of highly toxic waste in sealed containers - is lying at the premises of the defunct factory, contaminating the air and the groundwater.

In August 2011, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court had stayed the move to dispose of the waste at a DRDO facility amid protests by residents and activists.

The facility had been chosen after the state's attempts to dispose of it in Pithampur and then in Gujarat failed due to stiff protests.

In June 2012, the GoM on Bhopal decided to dispose of the 346 tonnes of most hazardous waste at a German facility in Hamburg. But the German company GIZ pulled out following protests in Germany.

The options before the state and central governments are now limited. Experts have categorically said no facility in India can handle the waste.

In 2010, in a letter to Madhya Pradesh high court, CEO of Thermax Ltd, MS Unnikrishnan, had stated that no facility in India is suitable for the disposal of Union Carbide waste. Thermax is the largest manufacturer of incinerators in India. 


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