Germany agency withdraws offer to treat India Bhopal wastes

18 September 2012 17:49  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--A German government agency has withdrawn an offer to help treat 350 tonnes of contaminated soil from Bhopal in India, it said on Tuesday.

GIZ, a development agency focused on sustainability, technology and environment issues, said that after three months of negotiations it could not agree terms with the Indian government.

“Uncertainties grew on both sides. This uncertainty extended to the German public,“ GIZ said with reference to concerns in Germany about the proposed deal.

The 1984 Bhopal disaster, which ranks the world's worst chemical accident, involved methyl isocyanate. However, GIZ said that the 350 tonnes of soil were contaminated with pesticides, not methyl isocyanate.

If the negotiations had been successful, GIZ would have issued a European-wide competitive tender for the disposal of the soil, it said. There had been no decision as yet on where exactly the disposal would have taken place, it added.

GIZ has experience in the treatment of hazardous waste, having taken on more than two dozen commissions in developing and emerging countries to dispose of hazardous chemicals over the past 20 years, it said.

The deal would have been in line with the Basel convention on hazardous wastes, which aims to ensure that dangerous chemical and other wastes do not end up in poor countries that do not have the facilities and technologies to treat them.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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