Is India the Dumpyard for US waste?

published on June 12, 2008

US toxic waste dumped at Indian port
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/US_waste_dumped_at_port/articleshow/3119947.cms


Thousand tonnes of hazardous American waste have
been dumped at Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin Port, where almost 35 large containers
conceal the waste, that has been lying untouched for the past three years.

There
is reportedly an amount of 890 tonnes of harmful waste that has been brought all
the way from New Jersey. The biggest question though is if it is a case of civic
apathy or a classic case of the West treating India as a dumping ground.

Since the past three years, contaminated municipal waster such as
polythene bags, crushed soft drink cans, pesticide containers, used batteries,
metal wires and others more have been rotting away at the port.

The
cargo reportedly reached India as a part of wastepaper imported by an Indian
company back in 2005. However, during the routine checks, port authorities —
much to their shock — discovered that the cargo did not have only paper but
carcenogenic waster discarded by America.

However, the fact that has
been interesting is that in September 2007, a committee constituted by the
Madras High Court had certified that the American garbage posed a threat to the
people of India and the environment. Following this, the Madras High Court
demanded that this trash be sent back to New Jersey immediately.

But, much to the horror of environmentalists, the scrap still lies
around the area and the Indian company is unwilling to take responsibility of
the cargo. The Americans also are refusing to take the waste back. BP Shukla,
Zonal Officer – South Central Pollution Control Board said, “This consignment
has municipal waste that cannot be allowed inside India.”

This is not
the first time that the West has used India as a dumpyard. In October 2007, a
huge controversy erupted after large amounts of toxic waste sent from New York
was seized at the Kochi port. Similarly there have been huge furores in the past
over the dismantling of toxic laden ships like the Blue Lady and Clemencau in
India.

Port authorities said that this is not the first time
hazardous waste has piled up, but waste in such huge proportions can be a huge
problem. However, caught in legal wrangles- 890 tonnes continue to rot away here
at the Tuticorin port.

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