Contrary to the general belief, the 1984 gas leak incident at Union Carbide plant in Bhopal has nothing to do with the contamination of soil and ground water in and around its site, says a government report.
It is the dumping of the toxic waste by the pesticide plant within its premises for nearly 15 years that has polluted the soil and water.
"The UCIL was dumping toxic wastes generated during the manufacture of pesticides within the premises of its Bhopal plant from 1969 to 1984 contaminating solid and groundwater in and around sites," says the report by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).
It may be made clear that contamination of soil and groundwater in and around UCIL premises is solely due to dumping of above mentioned wastes during 1969 to 1984, and MIC (methyl isocyanate) gas tragedy has no relevance to it, said the report which has been submitted to the environment ministry.
Over 15,000 people had died in the tragedy and thousands of others were maimed.
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is heading the oversight committee to coordinate and monitor the remedial steps being undertaken by Madhya Pradesh Government in and around the site to make it safe for the locals.
The government should set up a secure landfill site and a pump and treat system for long-term remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater at the plant Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL) plant in Bhopal, says the study.
"The cost of soil remediation through secured landfill is estimated to be in the range of Rs 78 crore to 117 crore while the capital cost for such pump and treat unit shall be in the range of 25 to 30 lakh," it noted.
"Proper fencing and security to the plant premises and solar evaporation pond (SEP) area for preventing unauthorised access and use by public, immediate sealing of five contaminated wells so as to prevent use of water from these for any purpose by the residents," are some of the suggestions made in the report.