We might have talk lot about various environmental issues that are threatening the world including India. We talk like an expert when it comes to global warming, greenhouse effect, loss of flora and fauna, water scarcity and a various other similar issues.
But the secret toxic secret of India still hides. Wondering what’s that secret is?
“It’s disposal of chemical waste.”
The wonderful land once inhabited by the most developed civilization of world ‘Harappan civilization’ and home to many great philosophers, scientist, rishis, yogis, emperors, yes this land of Rama, Krishna, Buddha is being turned into poisonous landmass.
THE BHOPAL GAS TALE
No one can forget that black day of December 2, 1984, when the “Bhopal Gas Tragedy” took place claiming millions of life. There has been extensive reporting in media about the injustice to the victims that resulted from Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1.0 but very few have talked about the more dreadful Bhopal Gas Tragedy 2.0. The chemical waste, solvents, sub-standard products, wastes from machinery and contaminated water were dumped inside and outside the plant. Another 350 tonnes has been kept in a leaking shed at the site. These wastes are still lying at the site, polluting soil and groundwater. This second legacy—Bhopal Disaster 2.0—now threatens even a larger number of people than the first one. Many of the chemicals degrade slowly and are likely to remain in the environment for hundreds of years. They will keep spreading unless they are taken out and the site is decontaminated.
THE KODAIKANAL CRY
Similar on the line is the case of “Kodaikanal”, Tamil Nadu, a beautiful place blessed by nature with its unparalleled beauty. Unsafe practices of handling and disposing hazardous material at Unilever’s mercury thermometer factory has exposed hundreds of workers to toxic mercury and contaminated the local environment. Dozens of workers have died prematurely, and hundreds of others and their families are struggling to cope with illnesses they believe are caused by exposure to mercury. The tonnes of mercury released into Kodai’s environment by the company has polluted the soil and water and can affect generations to come unless it is cleaned up to exacting standards.
OTHER SUCH STORIES
These are just few popular examples.There is no scarcity of such examples in India. Eloor-Edyar area, Cochin, Kerala, over 200,000 tonnes of highly hazardous chemicals, pesticides waste, Ranipet chromium contaminated area, Tamil Nadu, 220,000 tonnes of chromium waste piles, 2-4 meters high, cover 3 hectares, Ratlam Industrial area, Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh: contaminated with effluents from pharma industry, manufacturing H-Acid, Chromium contaminated area, Sundargarh, Odisha: 50,000 tonnes of chromium waste dumped in open land, Talcher, Odisha: 60,000 tonnes of waste from closed chrome salt manufacturing unit dumped in the open, Ganjam, Odisha: Over 50,000 tonnes of mercury waste from closed caustic soda plants at different locations, Juhi-Baburaiya-Rakhi-Mandi, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh: about 2 hectares of soil contaminated with roughly 10,000 tonnes of hexavalent chromium within densely populated settlement; Rania, Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh: About 45,000 tonnes of hexavalent chromium waste pile up on 200 hectares of private land and many more .
Need to ACT
This is an intense issue and needs immediate redress. But, is our government, media and more particularly, our brothers from different part of country, concerned about it? The most favorable answer would be “yes”. But the history suggests otherwise. After 30 years of continuous agitation by some “really concerned citizens and NGO’s” the waste disposal process of Union Carbide plant is started on guidelines of Supreme Court of India. After 15 years of struggle the issues of kodaikanal was addressed in someway. Thanks to Sofia Ashraf !
Our generation claims to be most creative and most innovative.Then why not use the creativity for raising awareness and demands for such purpose? When the creativity meets the humanity the result is wonderful and Sophia Ashraf has demonstrated it.
I would not ask everyone to come out of their house and help clean the chemical waste, neither we can do it. What we can do is, give these issues a form of movement so that none can suppress it and by giving support creatively to such issues, when it comes to notice. Let these ‘toxic secret be revealed to the world’. Let world know that we won’t tolerate it. Let the government know that so called policy of ‘ease of business’ will not allow the exploitation of our motherland.
“By accepting responsibility, we take effective steps toward our goal: an inclusive human society on a habitable planet, a society that works for all humans and for all non humans. By accepting responsibility, we move closer to creating a world that works for all .”