Environmentalists release public report protesting against proposed incineration of toxic Union Carbide waste in Gujarat – government to reconsider

Indian Express, April 29, 2007
Read the report by the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti
c/o 37 Patrakar Colony, Tandalja, Vadodara 390 020, Phone: 0265-2320399
Email: rt_manav@sancharnet.in
Vadodara, April 29: Following protests by environment activists and NGOs about the decision to bring Union Carbide’s hazardous waste to Ankleshwar in Bharuch, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) said that it would re-look the decision. Soon after the decision to bring the Bhopal gas tragedy waste to Gujarat was announced, activists have intensified their campaign against what they say will bring disaster to Gujarat.
GPCB member-secretary Sanjiv Tyagi confirmed that he had received a report from the PSS about the issue. Tyagi said, “We are giving their report due consideration but it is not yet certain when the disposal process is to begin.” However, the GPCB has already issued a no-objection certificate for the incineration of 346 mega tonnes of hazardous waste. “On one hand the government speaks about Nirmal Gujarat, while on the other they are bringing in hazardous waste into the state,” said Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) frontman Rohit Prajapati. He added that the disposal of such waste must be the polluter’s (namely Dow Chemicals) responsibility and not the governments of Madhya Pradesh or Gujarat.
Prajapati also warned that this could only be the tip of the iceberg. “If this first batch is allowed, then who knows how will follow next. The people of MP have suffered these long 23 years, is it now time for Gujaratis?” he asked. He added that apart from the residue leftover after incineration, air pollution would also increase drastically. The PSS also asked whether the Ankleshwar region could handle this extra pollution. According to Michael Mazgaonkar from the PSS Ankleshwar has already been identified as a hotspot by the GPCB. “Air samples collected from Ankleshwar revealed the presence of cancerous chemical at levels higher than international standards,” he said. Also doubts have been raised about the GPCB’s capability to handle such a project, though GPCB officials said that showed confidence. However, Prajapati said, “This kind of disposal requires constant monitoring and is dangerous. We object to managing waste by transforming it from one type to another,” he said.

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