Bhopal waste is not safe

Reveals RTI reply

By Ravleen Kaur
Published: Thursday 31 December 2009

THE Madhya Pradesh government has rejected repeated requests by the Pithampur industries association for samples of waste from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal saying the waste can be handled only by a technical expert (see Subterranean leak, December 1-15, 2009).

Responding to an rti application filed by Gautam Kothari, chairperson of the association, the Bhopal Gas Relief and Rehabilitation Department said as per the Hazardous Waste Management and Handling Rules, 1989, the waste has to be safely handled by the facilitys occupier (the department in this case).

The rti response contradicts the government claims that the waste lying in the premises of the Union Carbide is not toxic, said Kothari.He has been asking for the samples since February, when he learned the government plans to bring Union Carbide waste to the hazardous waste treatment facility in Pithampur industrial area for incineration. In June 2008, the government had transported 40 tonnes of the 390 tonnes of Union Carbide waste to the landfill site, owned by Ramky Enviro-Engineers Ltd. It was done in the night and without the associations knowledge. We need to test the samples for its toxicity before the waste comes here, said Kothari. He filed a second appeal with the state information commission.

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