Carbide waste disposal: Trial report submitted to environment ministry

  • Manoj Ahuja, Hindustan Times, Indore
  • Updated: Dec 19, 2015 16:12 IST
About 350 tonnes of toxic waste is lying at the union carbide plant since more than two decades. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT file photo)

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has forwarded the report of trial runs of union carbide toxic waste disposal to the union environment ministry, a senior board official said on Friday.

About 350 tonnes of toxic waste is lying at the union carbide plant since more than two decades and its disposal had become a cause of concern. In April 2014, the Supreme Court had ordered a trial disposal of 10 tonnes of the waste and asked the CPCB to submit a comprehensive report. The disposal was conducted at a facility in Pithampur , about 25 kilometres from Indore.

The union government will now submit the report to the Supreme Court and await its directives before giving the green signal for disposal of the remaining 340 tonnes lying on the defunct Union Carbide plant premises in Bhopal, CPCB superintending engineer Vinod Babu told HT. The SC is monitoring the entire waste disposal.

The board had carried out the waste disposal on August 14 at the treatment storage disposal facility (TDSF) in Pithampur in a span of seven days because the waste was incinerated at a feed rate of about 90 kg per hour with stoppages in between.

The entire trial run, right from the shifting of the waste from the plant site to the TDSF, was done clandestinely by the state government to avoid protests from NGOs and villagers near the disposal facility who had been opposing the incineration of the waste.

According to official records, the lethal gas leaked from the Union Carbide factory on the night of December 2, 1984, killed 3,787 people. Civil society groups put the figure at more than 10,000.

Earlier, the government was considering burning the waste at a DRDO site in Nagpur and a facility in Germany following opposition from Pithampur residents. However, both the plans failed to materialize due to different reasons. Sources said that once the union government gives the green signal, the waste will now be disposed at a faster rate as against a very slow feed rate during the trial run.

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