Panel to identify, dispose unclaimed hazardous waste in ports

With the near-fatal gas leak at Mumbai Port Trust last month exposing safety loopholes, the Environment Ministry has formed a panel to identify and dispose of all unclaimed hazardous waste lying in ports across the country.

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2010, 00:42 AM IST

New Delhi: With the near-fatal gas leak at
Mumbai Port Trust last month exposing safety loopholes, the
Environment Ministry has formed a panel to identify and
dispose of all unclaimed hazardous waste lying in ports across
the country.

"During the chlorine gas leaks incident (at a scrapyard
in MPT) there have been reports that lots of material posing a
toxic hazards was lying unclaimed.

"A committee headed by a joint secretary from environment
ministry has been formed to identify and defuse these
materials so that they (mishaps) do not reoccur," said
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) vice chairman NC
Vij at a function here organised by FICCI.

Soon after the gas leak disaster at MPT on July 14 which
left over 100 workers ill, a report has alleged that six ports
other than Mumbai have tonnes of dangerous materials.

These ports are Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Tuticorin Port,
Kolkata Dock Complex, New Mangalore Port, Kandla Port and
Chennai Port.

This is despite the government`s instructions that
hazardous goods and chemicals should not be kept in ports
beyond a stipulated period.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has already
asked various cargo handlers importing hazardous chemicals to
prepare an emergency plan to prevent disasters.

Vij also pointed out that with rapid industrialisation,
man-made disasters were on the rise but they can be prevented
with adequate safety steps.

He also said that a detailed paper has been submitted to
the government giving details of steps of loading and
unloading of radioactive materials at the ports.

-PTI