Survivors join Global Action against Waste Incineration, tell Dow, “get your poisonous waste out of Bhopal”
Bhopal-based members of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal today joined more than 100 groups around the world participating in a Global Day of Action against the disposal of wastes by burning. The Bhopal ICJB members called on the governments of India and Madhya Pradesh to ensure transparent procedures and safe technologies in the disposal of industrial and medical wastes.
Bhopal survivors’ organisations and their supporters demanded a copy of a report commissioned by the Government of India and produced by Engineers India Ltd, into the feasibility of containing above-ground wastes at the Union Carbide factory site in Bhopal. They also condemned current proposals by the Government of Madhya Pradesh to install medical waste incinerators in hospitals meant for gas victims.
“Hospitals are meant to be places of healing. Incinerating medical waste in Bhopal will only increase the sickness and suffering of the survivors of the world’s worst industrial disaster,” said Mrs. Rashida Bee, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh. “We demand immediate scrapping of the plans and installation of non-incinerator alternatives.”
The plan to install incinerators in government hospitals was reported to the local media by the Chief Medical Officer [Gas Relief]. It is well known that dioxins and furans, an inevitable byproduct of incineration, cause cancer, birth defects, and immune system suppression and disrupt the hormonal system.
According to Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, several safer alternatives, including solar treatment, autoclaving and deep burial exist to deal with medical wastes, and many hospitals in India have preferred such alternatives.
The survivors’ groups demanded the scrapping of any plans that involve permanent disposal of chemical wastes at or near the Union Carbide factory site in Bhopal. “We hear of plans to dispose of the hazardous wastes in a landfill inside the factory premises. We will not allow Union Carbide’s poisons in our midst,” said Syed M Irfan, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha.
According to Shahid Noor from Bhopal ki Aawaaz, Union Carbide or its current owner Dow Chemical must take the poison away from Bhopal as was done by the US Unilever Corporation in the case of mercury waste in Kodaikanal in Tamilnadu last year.
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Syed M Irfan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Shahid Noor, Bhopal ki Aawaaz
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra, Bhopal Group for Information and Action