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Bhopal waste will be flown to Germany

The Local · 8 Jun 2012, 16:35

Published: 08 Jun 2012 16:35 GMT+02:00

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The Indian government approved the controversial clean-up proposal for the site where a gas leak killed thousands in 1984.

The plan to have five special flights take the toxic waste to an as yet unnamed disposal site in Germany was approved by India’s Interior Minister P. Chidamabaram and other senior ministers at a meeting in New Delhi.

"The ministers have given a green signal," a senior ministry official told news agency AFP, declining to be named. Other sources say the Indian government will pay €3.6 million for the project.

"The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) has been awarded the contract to transport the waste to Germany for disposal," he said.

Bonn-based GIZ is a government-run enterprise that works on international environmental issues and sustainable development.

Bhopal was the scene of the world's worst industrial accident in 1984 when the pesticide factory leaked toxic gas into nearby slums, killing thousands instantly and tens of thousands more over the following years.

Tonnes of chemical waste previously produced by the plant were left in pits around the site, polluting local water supplies. Residents have been campaigning for years for a thorough clean-up of the factory and the surrounding area.

Many experts believe that the presence of toxic waste has resulted in more birth defects and illnesses among successive generations of people living near the plant.

According to GIZ, the waste to be flown to Germany is not connected with the poison that leaked in the accident. Hans-Hermann Dube from GIZ claimed that analysis had shown the material heading for Germany contained low levels of pesticide and heavy metals.

Story continues below…

Environmental group Greenpeace said it supported the clean-up idea but was not sure whether it made sense to send the waste to Germany.

DPA/AFP/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:36 June 8, 2012 by Bavaria Mike
This is insane! What Government employee made this decision? India is nearly 4 times larger than tiny little Germany, and they have no place for toxic waste but Germany does, somehow???
17:49 June 8, 2012 by sureyan
I assume that Germany has the technology to "safely" dispose or neutralise those chemicals... But still why they need to fly?? why dont they clean it in India???
18:27 June 8, 2012 by raandy
There is most likely a good profit here for someone or some company.

Germany surely has the technology to deal with it , but the question as to why not do it in India needs to be answered.
18:36 June 8, 2012 by nashv
People, people, don't always assume Govt. officials are stupid. Clearly there are economic considerations here too.

For example, did it occur to you that if the waste needs special treatment facilities, constructing a treatment facility in Bhopal , with all the certification and expertise required might be more expensive than flying the whole dump to where such a facility exists?

Or that the cost of moving the thing in India could be as much as flying the whole thing to Germany?
21:44 June 8, 2012 by yourkeau
Please read carefully: "Other sources say the Indian government will pay €3.6 million for the project. "

This is the answer to the question "why dont they clean it in India?"
00:32 June 9, 2012 by Jerr-Berlin
TheLocal...this rag online "news" source, failed to mention that the pesticicde company in question is the US company Dow Chemical and still is in litigation after all of these years....why don't they send this to the US?
03:34 June 9, 2012 by Lisa Rusbridge
Dow Chemical acquired Union Carbide years after the accident.

There are palms being greased in this deal otherwise why would Germany even get involved? It takes two to tango. Someone to offer the cash for the deed, and someone greedy enough to take it.

I do think they should be required to say where the toxic waste is being dumped. Isn't there some sort of equivalent to the Freedom of Information of Act in Germany?
03:54 June 9, 2012 by catjones
Stop your whining, the 'contract was awarded' means there was a bidding process that germany won, as in they wanted it.
13:34 June 9, 2012 by venkyfra
Indian govt is only paying to airlift the toxic waste. They are not paying for scavenging it. The article didn't say the quantity of toxic waste. Its actually 346Metric Tonnes of toxic waste. Airlifting that for 3.6Million Eur is rather cheap!!

If the toxic waste itself doesn't have any worthwhile material then the story is not complete. We are probably missing few zeros at the end of the figure or there is some other channel of funding!!

Here is the Indian version of news:

14:25 June 9, 2012 by Jerr-Berlin
An Lisa Rosbridge

It doesn't matter that Union Carbide was the original perpetrator...because of the laws and complexities of environmental remediation, Dow is the responsible agent...
16:30 June 9, 2012 by Leo Strauss
@ Lisa Rußbrücke

The Umweltinformationsgesetz enables individuals and organizations to demand and receive information such as you refer to in your post. Currently Der Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) is trying to find out what exactly is being handled, where it will be processed and disposed of, and when all this will happen.

There is a shortlist of their suspected sites here at this page, where I got the above information:


Maybe the Local didn`t want to name `Dow` in the article for fear it would conjure these devils up.

Agent Orange. Napalm. Bhopal. Dioxin all over the world- even at home in the States. To see the children... If you have children of your own you will understand the rage. Do you think that these psychos are deterred by fines and clean-up costs?

People wake up! There are predators among us.

Let`s see how this story plays out.
14:15 June 20, 2012 by Floriansamsel
Very strange. Nobody seemed to care when we used to send our industrial waste to third-world countries (and I guess we still do). Now, it is the other way round and nobody likes the idea.
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