Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Calling state government’s move to build a memorial on Union Carbide plant site, a “planned cover-up” of crimes of Dow Chemical company, the organisations of gas tragedy survivors on Sunday asked why is the minister for gas relief, planning to put concrete on land contaminated with chemicals that retain toxicity for over 100 years?
Rashida Be, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, said since 1990, 17 reports including those from the top research agencies of central government have confirmed the presence of pesticides, heavy metals and poisonous chemicals in high concentrations till 3 kilometres away from the abandoned factory site.
Instead of excavating and removing thousands of tons of hazardous waste that is the cause for ongoing contamination of Bhopal’s groundwater, the state government is planning to cover contaminated land with concrete.
Commenting on findings of different scientific reports on soil and groundwater contamination in Bhopal, Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information & Action said, “Official agencies have reported high concentrations of six Persistent Organic Pollutants in ground water, chemicals that retain their toxicity for over 100 years. The chemicals and heavy metals found by different agencies are known to damage brain, liver, lungs and kidneys, cause cancers and diseases of endocrine, reproductive, immune and other systems.
“Once we know what chemicals are present at what depths and distances, a plan for environmental remediation can be prepared. Without doubt much attention has to be paid to thousands of tons of toxic sludge, buried outside the factory that is reaching soil and groundwater,”she said.
Through the campaign - Bhopal Disaster: 37 years, 37 questions - the organisations wish to highlight urgent concerns regarding compensation, criminal justice, medical, economic, social rehabilitation and environmental remediation of polluted land.
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