Greenpeace slams Indian govt for waste imports
NEW DELHI - Environmental group Greenpeace slammed the Indian government yesterday for failing to stem the tide of hazardous waste imports despite a ban by the countrys highest court since 1997.
It said India had become a global dumping ground for vast amounts of zinc ash, hard zinc spelter, lead waste and used batteries from industrialised nations like Germany, the United States, Australia, Britain and Denmark.
The group said more than 100,887 tonnes, including hazardous and potentially hazardous wastes, entered India illegally in 1998/99 (April-March), some in violation of a 1997 Supreme Court order banning the import of hazardous wastes.
"The Indian Ministry of Environments go-ahead-and-dump-on-us attitude portrays the agency as anti-environment," Greenpeace Asia Toxic Campaigner in India, Nityanand Jayaraman, said in a statement.
Jayaraman also urged the government to set up a regulatory mechanism to control the dumping of hazardous waste from the industrialised world into India in line with the Basel Convention.
"The country has all the necessary laws in place, but the enforcement mechanism needs to be spruced up. Customs authorities should ensure that such imports do not take place," he said.
An environment ministry official who did not want to be identified, said the government was tightening the regulatory system to stop such imports.
"But there are a lot of difficulties in implementation such as a shortage of manpower and other infrastructure like laboratories for testing," he said.
Greenpeace did not provide details on the damage to health due to the dumping of hazardous waste.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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