MP plant suitable for trial burning of Bhopal waste: Govt to SC

The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the incineration facility at Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh is suitable for trial burning of the Bhopal toxic waste, amid the state government's apprehensions of release of pesticide residues with "lethal consequences" during the process.

Citing the result submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board, Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman told the SC that the test results had come only a day ago and they suggested that the facility at Pithampur met all the required standards for trial burning.

"Apparently, the plant at Pithampur meets all the standards," he submitted before a Bench led by Justice G S Singhvi, and sought some time to bring on record the CPCB findings in an affidavit.

The court asked the SG about the performance audits of the remaining 21 treatment, storage and disposal facility (TSDFs) in the country, to which he said that a final report should be ready by February.

Appearing for the MP government, senior advocate Ravi Shankar Prasad pointed out that although the CPCB claimed that Pithampur facility met all the standards, it must be kept in mind that only normal industrial waste and no quantum of Bhopal waste had been treated at this plant till date. "During the incineration process, there are reports that dioxins and furans — heavy toxic gases — are released into the environment. The pesticide residue at Bhopal during the process has lethal consequences. It is a densely populated area where the plant has been located. We also want disposal of the waste but there must not be any remotest possibility of accidents before we start the process," said Prasad.

The Bench asked Nariman if any sample of Bhopal toxic waste was sent for treatment at Pithampur. "No, it was not," replied the SG, adding that they were at the pre-trial run stage where the capability of the plant was examined.

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