Proof that Gujarat refuses to accept factory waste

*Press Statement*
*Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh*
*Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha*
*Bhopal Group for Information & Action*
November 11, 2007, Bhopal – The Gujarat government has categorically refused to allow disposal of toxic waste from Union Carbide, Bhopal at the incinerator facility in Ankleshwar, Gujarat, according to letters from Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and the Gujarat Department of Forests and Environment. The letters which were presented by three organizations working on Bhopal issues at a press conference today were obtained through Right to Information.
The organizations said that the Madhya Pradesh government continues to feign ignorance in this regard to cover up its failure in finding a facility within India that would accept Bhopal’s hazardous waste for disposal.
The letters mention “opposition from various NGOs and representatives of public” and categorically state that the M P government must carry out “disposal of said waste elsewhere.”
Safe disposal of the toxic wastes from Union Carbide’s factory is not possible in India, and Gujarat’s refusal to handle the Bhopal waste is proof of that, leaders of the organizations said. They reiterated
their demand that the Government should force Dow Chemical to clean-up and ship the toxic wastes to a facility in USA for safe disposal there, just as the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board had forced Unilever in 2003 to ship its mercury wastes from its thermometer factory in Kodaikanal to the US for treatment and disposal.
The organizations also presented copies of correspondence between M P Pollution Control Board and Union Carbide that show that in 1991 the MPPCB itself recommended export of toxic waste. Citing the imprisonment of former MPPCB, Chairman V K Jain for amassing wealth disproportionate to his income in 2001, the organizations alleged that the MPPCB was bribed by Union Carbide to change its opinion.
The organizations pointed out that only one transporter has offered to carry the waste from Union Carbide for disposal. The transporter, one Manik Chourasia from Chhatarpur has no experience of transporting industrial waste let alone hazardous waste such as that from Union Carbide.
Pointing out the massive exposure to toxic dust suffered by residents in the neighbourhood of the factory during the packaging of the toxic waste in June 2005, the leaders of the organizations expressed apprehension that people in Bhopal and those on the route of the trucks carrying waste will once again suffer health injuries.
The organizations said they have filed applications under the Right to Information Act before the MPPCB, Department of Bhopal Gas Tragedy and the Collector to ensure that regulatory requirements for packaging, labelling and transportation of hazardous wastes as provided under the Hazardous Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989 are followed. They have also sought information on on-site and off-site emergency plans in case of an accident involving Union Carbide’s toxic waste.
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
tel. 94265 88215
Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
tel. 93290 26319
Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
tel. 98261 67369
*Contact : House No. 60, Near Cold Storage, Union Carbide Road, Chhola, Bhopal*

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