Dangerous: Union Carbide waste contaminates groundwater in 12 more Bhopal areas
SPECIAL ON 32nd ANNIVERSARY OF BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY
Bhopal: More and more residents of residents of Bhopal are under threat of serious health hazards as groundwater contamination due to continued presence of toxic waste dumps on abandoned Union Carbide factory is spreading to new localities.
At least 12 more localities around Union Carbide, housing at least 5000 families, are facing groundwater contamination sourced from the abandoned pesticide factory’s toxic waste, a latest study by Sambhavna Trust Clinic has found.
The Sambhavna Trust is a charitable trust working for Bhopal gas tragedy victims and people affected by toxic waste contaminated soil and water, providing medical aid and conducting research.
The new areas with groundwater contamination are: Risaldar Colony, Sant Hirdaram Nagar, Rambha Nagar, Ehele Hadis settlement, Sunder Nagar, New Kabadkhana, Laxmi Nagar, Chandan Nagar (near People’s Hospital), Nishatpura, Chhola Mandir, Dwarka Nagar and Laxmi Nagar (Shiv Mandir).
The groundwater samples from these areas have been found to contain total dissolved solids (TDS) and having chemical oxygen demand (COD) levels well beyond normal limits – indicating high-scale pollution.
However, the clinching evidence of pollution sourced by Union Carbide toxic waste is presence of organochlorine compounds found in the samples, managing trustee of Sambhavna Trust, Satinath Sarangi told NewsBits.in.
Organocholorines are indicative of pesticide based pollution, which is very dangerous for health as they impact the central nervous system.
Physician at Sambhavna trust clinic Dr Mohammad Ali Qaisar added “Our work shows that there is an alarming public health situation in Bhopal due to toxic contamination that is getting worse every day. The contaminants are known to cause cancers and birth defects and damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and the brain.”
Over 10,000 families of 22 localities around the abandoned pesticide family are already in grip of severely contaminated groundwater and under Supreme Court decision the Bhopal Municipal Corporation is supplying clean piped drinking water to them.
Sarangi said that urgent cleaning up of the massive piles of toxic wastes in and around the Union Carbide since 1969 is the only solution to prevent more people getting impacted.
The Union Carbide factory in Bhopal spewed toxic fumes on night intervening December 2/3, 1984, killing thousands and maiming lakhs for life. The (methyl iso-cynate) gas affected people continued to face severe health complications and dying over years.
Additionally, a new set of people including those born later were impacted by the effect of toxic waste dumps left over by the US multinational owned pesticide factory on its premises as well as the nearby solar evaporation pond (SEP).
The toxic elements from the waste dumps have leached into soil and groundwater, turning the entire area into a veritable source of serious health complications. Growing cases of people showing symptoms indicative of pollution caused ailments only prove this.
Between 1990 and 2010, agencies of national and international repute and expertise have conducted studies in the Union Carbide proximity and proven that the soil and water are contaminated by the toxic waste dumps.
Fire in plastic factories additional hazard
Two massive fires in plastic factories close to the Union Carbide factory in October this year exposed more than 10, 000 residents to Hydrogen cyanide, Phosgene, Hydrogen chloride, Benzene, Cadmium, Dioxines, Furans and other poisonous elements, the Sambhavna Trust has said. The presence of these factories is additional hazard to people already affected by Bhopal gas tragedy and toxic waste impacts, the trust said in a press statement.