Madhya Pradesh under hazardous wastes threatBy Shahnawaz Akhtar, IANS
Saturday, December 25, 2010
BHOPAL - If you think Union Carbide is the only hub of hazardous wastes in Madhya Pradesh, you are in for a shock. There are seven other sites where tonnes of hazardous wastes have been posing a threat to people’s health for over a decade.
The Right to Information Act (RTI) has helped reveal that apart from the 350 tonnes of wastes inside the now defunct Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, around 26,500 tonnes of wastes remain unattended in other districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Prayatna, a social organisation, has now got records from both the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which show thousands of tonnes of hazardous wastes dumped in the state, most of them in Ratlam district.
CPCB records showed seven sites, including that of Sajjan Chemicals, Ratlam. The company, producing H-acid, G-acid, etc, remains closed since 1999 and has the biggest stock of hazardous wastes - 20,906 tonnes.
According to MPPCB records, six other illegal waste sites include Beta Naphthol in Shajjanpur, Jayant Vitamins, Bordia Chemicals, Khandarwasa Mines and two sites at the Dosigaon Industrial Area - all in Ratlam district.
Beta Naphthol, which started production in 1985, has been out of operation since 1997. The CPCB had found 602 tonnes of hazardous waste lying inside its premises.
Jayant Vitamins was engaged in manufacturing Vitamin C and Sorbitol. It has 30 tonnes of waste.
Bordia Chemicals, which produced H-acid and G-acid, which are important dye intermediaries, has 4,375 tonnes of waste inside its premises since 2003.
A high-level meeting was held in Delhi in 2005 and the sites were inspected. Later the CPCB directed the MPPCB to dispose of the wastes, but no step has been taken.
Ajay Dubey, secretary of Prayatna, said he had written to union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary Avani Vaish on the matter. He has also appraised the CPCB and the MPPCB.
“The information from the MPPCB and the CPCB varies. But I sought word from the chief secretary to act on the state report only,” Dubey, who is also a member of Transparency International India, told IANS.
“The Supreme Court itself had directed the state government in 2003 to properly implement the rules and regulations for the management of hazardous waste. But no action has been taken so far.”
“The biggest tragedy with our governance system is that no action is taken till a major catastrophe happens,” rued Dubey.
The biggest of catastrophes did happen in Bhopal. Union Carbide wastes have been lying undisposed of inside the company premises since the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, when the world’s worst industrial disaster killed nearly 3,000 people. Around 500,000 people were affected and over the years 25,000 more people died.
The gas leak survivors and activists have been raising the issue of disposing of these wastes that severely affect the health of Bhopal’s citizens.
(Shahnawaz Akhtar can be contacted at email@example.com)