India dispose Union Carbide toxic waste in Germany

India to dispose Union Carbide toxic waste in Germany

6:08 AM, 12th June 2012
India to dispose Union Carbide toxic waste in Germany
Victims who lost their sight in the Bhopal tragedy in 1984. (C) AFP

BHOPAL, INDIA: A Group of Ministers (GoM) gave approval to Madhya Pradesh government to dispose of 350 metric tonne of Union Carbide toxic waste in Germany. As per the decision, the centre will pay Rs 25 crore ($4.75 million) towards the cost of airlifting the waste which will be removed within a year. According to Madhya Pradesh government officials, the disposal would be carried out by German agency-GIZ IS, a government-run enterprise working on international environmental issues and sustainable development.

Madhya Pradesh Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Babulal Gaur said that the GoM under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has asked the state government to prepare an agreement within two weeks’ time. The worst-ever industrial disaster had taken place at the Union Carbide plant on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. About 346 metric tonne toxic waste is lying within the premises of the erstwhile M/s Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL), a US chemical group by Dow Chemical at Bhopal.

Tonnes of chemical waste produced by an accident of pesticide factory in 1984 were left in pits around the site, polluting local water supplies. Residents have been campaigning for years for the thorough clean-up of the factory and the surrounding area. According to a government data, a total compensation of over Rs 3,000 crore ($5700 million) has been given in 5,295 cases of death, 4,902 cases of permanent disability, 5,27,894 cases of minor injury and 35,455 cases related to temporary disability among others. “The proposal has been agreed to. The waste will be disposed of in Germany. The cost of Rs 25 crore ($4.75 million) for airlifting the toxic material will be borne by the central government. The whole procedure of removing the waste will be completed within a year,” said Gaur.

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