In court

Published: Wednesday 15 June 2005

Burn the waste: The Supreme Court (SC) on May 9, 2005, again ordered the SC monitoring committee (SCMC) on hazardous waste to immediately incinerate the hazardous waste oil lying at Nhava Sheva port in Mumbai for the last five years. "For the present, the cost of incineration would be borne by the Customs Department," it said.

The consignment of 133 containers was illegally imported in August-September 2000 by 15 importers under the garb of 'furnace oil' and has been lying at the port since then (see Down To Earth, 'Slipping Through', October 15, 2002). The matter was brought to the court's notice through a petition filed by the Research Foundation for Science, a non-governmental organisation, which highlighted the dangers of the waste oil being dumped in India in violation of anti-dumping rules.

On January 5, 2005, SC had ordered the incineration within four weeks.But SCMC's fifth quarterly report of March 2005 says this wasn't done. The reason: non-payment of the cost of incineration by importers. SC has now directed importers to deposit the money with SCMC within two weeks, "failing which they shall remain present in court on 18th July, 2005 and show cause why action for contempt be not taken against them". But it also held: "Though the aspect of non-payment is very serious yet the destruction of the waste oil cannot be any more delayed."

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