x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

India 'sorry' for secretly dumping Bhopal waste

The Indian government has apologised for secretly dumping toxic waste from the 1984 Bhopal gas leak, the world's worst industrial disaster, in an incinerator two years ago.

NEW DELHI // The Indian government has apologised for secretly dumping toxic waste from the 1984 Bhopal gas leak, the world's worst industrial disaster, in an incinerator two years ago. About 40 tonnes of toxic waste still at the site of the Union Carbide pesticide plant that spewed deadly gas over Bhopal was taken at night in 2008 to an incinerator at Pithampur 230km away. The environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, in an attempt to end controversy over the disaster's legacy, said the continuing cleanup had to be done openly.

"I admit as minister that it was wrong to have brought those 40 tonnes of waste to Pithampur," Mr Ramesh, who did not hold the environment role at the time, said. "Whatever we do needs to be done with adequate transparency." One year after poisonous gas from the factory poured into Bhopal's slums, local authorities collected 350 tonnes of waste and left it in the factory yard. Most of it remains there untreated. The government has vowed to finally clean up the site and to improve compensation after public outrage over last month's court verdicts of seven Indian managers who were responsible.

The government also pledged to again try to seek the extradition of Warren Anderson, the American who was chief executive of Union Carbide at the time of the disaster and who now lives in New York state. * Agence France-Presse