Toxic waste from Bhopal plant may come to Germany | News | DW | 08.06.2012
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Toxic waste from Bhopal plant may come to Germany

A German institution has been selected by the Indian government to carry out a waste removal operation from a factory in Bhopal, the site of a deadly gas leak that killed several thousand people in 1984.

The Indian government has confirmed a plan is in the mix with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) on Friday to dispose of 350 tons of toxic waste from a factory in Bhopal where a gas leak killed thousands in 1984.

Final details in the contract between the GIZ, the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, and the Indian federal government are expected to be completed in the next three or four weeks. The Madhya Pradesh Gas Relief and Rehabilitation Minister, Babulal Gaur, said the Indian government would pick up the 250 million rupee (3.6 million euros, $4.5 million) tab for flying the industrial waste to Germany.

The contaminated material, which is solid and contains pesticides and heavy metals, is not connected to the methyl isocyanate gas that leaked from the factory in 1984. It is from chemical dumps that occurred between 1969 and 1984, which are believed to have been contaminating ground water in the area. The water is used by nearby slums and is suspected to have caused serious health problems among residents.

"India lacks the capacities to dispose of the soil properly," said the GIZ's Hans Herrmann Dube. "We are starting to draft detailed disposal plans, based on the premise that safety is more important than speed."

GIZ has not said where the hazardous waste will end up, but it did note that facilities in Germany would allow for the waste to be disposed of safely without danger to public health or the environment.

mz/pfd (EPD, dpa, AFP)