Indian Environment Ministry ‘Red Flags’ UNEP Contamination Assessment Offer

Contaminated water
An offer from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to perform a comprehensive assessment of the depth and spread of contaminants in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal has been ‘red-flagged’ by the Indian government. UNEP has indicated its willingness to perform this unprecedented assessment but the formal process requires that the Indian Government must invite it to do so.
Contamination emanating from the abandoned factory continues to affect people’s health and environment but the full extent of this contamination has never been mapped. This is despite tests having proved that the local groundwater aquifer, serving as a primary water supply for thousands, has been seriously contaminated with toxic chemicals for a distance of several kilometres in some directions.
Rachna Dhingra, a representative of local NGO Bhopal Group of Information and Action (BGIA) said they received a response from Union Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change joint secretary Biswajit Sinha on April 8. “A four line message just stated our request for inviting UNEP for a study has been examined and they did not find a necessity for the study at present. We are distraught with this information because Sinha doesn’t even bother to share reasons for rejecting this offer” she said.

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