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Monday, May 3, 2010

Dealing with hazardous and radioactive wastes

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The suspicion that Cobalt-60 the radioactive substance, the radiation of which killed one person in Mayapuri scrap market in Delhi and caused serious injuries to a number of other persons “was collected from medical waste” has been proved wrong. Now it has been confirmed that the same was bought from the Chemistry Department of Delhi University following which the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has asked Delhi University to suspend all activities involving the use of radiation sources and has issued a show cause notice to explain the violation within two weeks.

Image : 1 A scene from Mayapuri Market
It is important to note that the radio active material was kept inside an old Gama cell model 220 that was purchased from the Chemistry Department of Delhi University. The cell was made by Atomic Energy Canada Limited with decayed cobalt-60 sources.

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has said that the incident was caused by unauthorized disposal of the Gama cell by the University as scrap in violation of the Atomic Energy (safe disposal of radioactive waste) Rules and Atomic Energy Radiation (Protection) Rules.

In another report pertaining to hazardous wastes the Toxics Watch Alliance has urged the Union Government of India to make every effort to ban export of hazardous waste to India from various countries. Mr. Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Waste Alliance has reportedly said that it was alarming to note that hazardous wastes continued to be transferred to India and it was getting hard to control their movements. It was important that India implemented the Basel Convention Treaty, created in response to the outrage of developing countries over dumping of toxic waste into countries under the guise of trade or recycling in letter and in spirit.

It is reported that environmentalists of the country have demanded that toxic wastes be managed properly. In a press release of the Toxics Waste Alliance included in a report in April 30 issue of The Hindu it has been demanded that – while dealing with hazardous waste the Union Government needs to pay attention to including strategies for cleaning up of toxic and hazardous waste dump legacies, developing a national inventory of such dumps, an online monitoring system for movement of hazardous wastes and taking legal measures for addressing emergencies arising out of transportation, handling and disposal of hazardous waste.

Image : 2 Dump of Hazardous Waste
It is explained that some traders who deal with hazardous wastes are causing dangers to public and environmental health. It is asked by the organization that traders should not repeat the mistake that led to a serious accident in the Mayapuri Scrap Market in Delhi. Self Regulation to control movement of hazardous materials across country should be encouraged – as per the report.
Key Words : Mayapuri, cobalt-60, radio active waste, hazardous waste, dumpmedical waste,Atomic Energy Regulatory BoardAtomic Energy Canada Limited,Self Regulation to control movement,Toxics Waste Alliance,environmental health, 

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