Union Carbide waste disposal: Allegations on safety norms to be probed

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Indore
  • Updated: Jan 22, 2015 21:59 IST

The MP Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) has formed a committee to look into allegations of safety violations by Pithampur-based waste disposal facility that has been earmarked for disposal of 346 tonnes of toxic Union Carbide waste.

The five-member committee comprises representatives from Central Pollution Control Board and MPPCB, besides a scientist and an environmentalist. The committee will look into the allegations and submit its report within one month.

Gautam Kothari, member of NGO Lok Maitri, said that Shahbaz Khan, a former supervisor who had worked at the plant, has stated in an affidavit that the plant management is flouting rules related to disposal of toxic industrial waste for financial reasons. However, officials of Ramky Enviro Engineers, who manage the disposal facility, have refuted the charges.

Hyderabad-based Ramkay Enviro Engineers operates MP waste management facility in Pithampur that disposes of hazardous industrial waste. The state government has announced plans to dispose the toxic Union Carbide waste in the facility. Local NGOs and industry representatives are opposing the move tooth and nail.

The former supervisor has stated: "The waste is supposed to be tested in the laboratories and categorised into different categories for disposal."

The most toxic waste is incinerated and the process is most expensive. However, the MP waste management facility is disposing such waste directly in its landfill thereby endangering the ecology of the surrounding areas."

Madhya Pradesh government's efforts for the past four years to dispose of 346 tonnes of toxic waste lying on the Union Carbide plant premises have failed to bear fruit.

While the Supreme Court has issued directives to the government to dispose the toxic waste in a time-bound manner, every attempt by the government has been met with stiff resistance from NGOs and other organisations.

On April 17, 2014, the Supreme Court had asked the MP government to conduct trial runs at Pithampur-based treatment, storage and disposal facility using 10 tonnes of toxic Union Carbine waste. However, no date has been fixed to conduct the trial runs.

The state government has tried to dispose of the waste in the suitable facilities in other states, but with no success.

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