INDIAN EXPRESS, JUNE 22, 2007
Activist wants decision to dispose off waste at Ankleshwar reversed
Vadodara, June 21: The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday admitted an application that seeks to reverse the decision to dispose off the Bhopal Gas Tragedy waste at Ankleshwar in Bharuch district. The application has been submitted by an Ankleshwar-based activist, Zia Pathan.
The court has set August 8 as the date for the hearing when Pathan could present his case.
The application cites excerpts from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) report of June 2006 that maintains that Ankleshwar is a hotspot in terms of pollution. It also cites media reports about protests against bringing the waste for treatment to Ankleshwar.
“We know the decision would not be reversed immediately, but at least I have been allowed to present my case,” said Pathan.
The 300 tonnes of hazardous waste from the Union Carbide (now Dow Chemicals) plant in Bhopal is to be treated at the Ankleshwar waste disposal facility called Bharuch Enviro Infrastructure Ltd (BEIL).
According to Pathan, the GPCB report clearly mentions Ankleshwar as a hotspot owing to the presence of a large number of chemical industries. “Most of the people in Ankleshwar, including the city municipality, are against the decision, as it would only worsen the state of an already polluted town,” said Pathan.
He added that awareness among the citizens about the danger was only increasing.
Vadodara-based environmental NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) is also working closely with Pathan. PSS frontman Rohit Prajapati said that air samples that he had taken earlier suggested that the presence of carcinogenic chemicals were at levels higher than permissible limits.
“We hope to get a favourable decision from the court. Meanwhile, there might even be more demonstrations in Ankleshwar,” he said.