On August 1, 2013, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) released a comprehensive action plan for remediation of Union Carbide India Limited's (UCIL) Factory site in Bhopal. It is for the first time that such an action plan has been developed with the consensus of all stakeholders.
The site at the Union Carbide India Ltd. (UCIL), Bhopal, is known to be contaminated with hazardous waste for about three decades now. The dumped toxic chemical waste along with the contaminated soil and groundwater in and around the UCIL continue to affect the health of the local community. Over the years, several studies have been conducted to assess the extent of contamination and possible remedial measures. CSE, after analysing these previously conducted studies realised the need for a discussion to develop a consensus on the future course of action among all stakeholders.
A two-day roundtable meeting was organised on April 25-26, 2013 at New Delhi that focused on developing a road map on remediation of soil and groundwater contamination, disposal of toxic chemical waste, remediation of plant machinery and the fate of the site.
For the first time, such a discussion was held, wherein experts from CSIR institutes such as NEERI-Nagpur, IICT-Hyderabad, IITR-Lucknow; technical institutes such as IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Madras and IIT-Roorkee; hazardous waste management companies; and affected community from Bhopal sat across the table to discuss the contamination issue of the UCIL site. Representatives from CPCB were also present for few sessions. Unfortunately, the representatives from the Madhya Pradesh (MP) government, including MP pollution control board, did not participate.
The expert group extensively deliberated on the current state of contamination, immediate and long term measures to prevent further spread of contamination, gaps in previous studies and suitability of various remediation technology options.
Towards the end, the expert group collectively developed a time-bound action plan on how the toxic waste should be disposed, what needs to be done with the contaminated soil and ground water, how to prevent further contamination and what should be the fate of the UCIL site.
We believe that this is an implementable action plan. We also believe if the MP government supports the action plan, in a five years time frame, we can clean the environment, protect lives as well as convert the site into a memorial to remember the worst industrial disaster in the history.
We need your support in taking this action plan forward. It is important that we collectively work towards removing an injustice that has remained unaddressed for the last three decades.
We would be very happy to have your suggestions on the action plan. You can e-mail your feedback/suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org.