PALAKKAD: A few days after ‘Express’ published an article on August 18 about the threat posed by the nondetoxified stock of endosulfan, the Palakkad district administration is planning to neutralise and dispose the pesticide on a war-footing.
In the initial phase, the district administration, with the help of Endosulfan Victims Rehabilitation Cell, will transfer the endosulfan to high density safe polythene drums in the ‘Operation Blossom Spring’ by the end of September.
It was through this operation that 1600 litres of endosulfan were transferred to high density polythene drums in Kasargod on June 2012 by shelling out `5 lakh. The district administration here assumes that the operation can be finished with the same amount. To plan things accordingly, a meeting will be held on September 12 which will be attended by the District Collector, ADM, DMO and the nodal officer of Endosulfan Cell.
For the past 14 years, as much as 314 litres of endosulfan has been remaining in the two cans at the godown of Plantation Corporation at Karimankunnu in Thenkara panchayat. These cans are not safe and the endosulfan in these cans has started leaking. If not neutralised without further delay, the highly toxic pesticide will penetrate into the soil leading to another environmental catastrophe.
The administration here had no other option except keeping the endosulfan after it wreaked havoc in Kasargod. The idea behind this was to dispose of it gradually after neutralising it with a clear and effective plan. However, even after 14 years, the administration has not found a suitable technology to neutralise it to dispose it.
“Two steps have to be followed for the disposal of endosulfan. In the first step, we need to safeguard it by transferring it to high density polythene drums. In the second step, the safeguarded endosulfan has to be detoxified and disposed. The guidelines of the Food and Agricultural Organisation have to be followed while transferring the endosulfan to these drums,” said Dr Muhammed Asheel, assistant nodal officer of Endosulfan Victims Rehabilitation Cell.
He also said that the endosulfan in high density polythene drums will be safe for five years. “In the mean time we can take measures to detoxify and dispose of it safely,” added Asheel.
He also expressed his hope in the ongoing research across the globe for a suitable technology for neutralising the toxicity of the existing stock of the pesticide. “The available methods are highly expensive and not worthy enough. If we take a decision to go ahead with one of the existing technologies, it may prove wrong as more efficient technologies are likely to evolve in near future,” said Dr Asheel.