The authorities are yet to come up with a clear and effective plan to dispose the remaining stock of 1,600 litres of endosulfan in Kasargod. The stock is now kept in high-density polythene drums and the experts say that it will be safe only for three more years.
If not neutralised within the time frame the highly toxic pesticide would penetrate into the soil leading to another environmental catastrophe.
Dr Muhammed Asheel, nodal officer of the Endosulfan Victims Rehabilitation Cell, expressed hope that the ongoing researches across the globe for a suitable technology for neutralising the toxicity of endosulfan would help to find a way out.
When a national ban was imposed on endosulfan in June 2012, the district administration had no other option except to keep the remaining stock in the drums at the godowns in Periya, Panathadi and Cheemeni. These drums have a guarantee of five years. It has already been two years now and the authorities have to find measures to neutralise the endosulfan before the guarantee expires.
“The available methods are highly expensive and not worthy enough. We have three more years. 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 the near future,” said Dr Asheel. He also said that the best decision now was to keep track of the researches taking place world-wide and opt the best technology when the time is ripe. Meanwhile, a number of requests have been made to the Pollution Control Board and Hindustan Insecticide Ltd (HIL), the producer of endosulfan, demanding to find suitable technologies to neutralise it.
HIL had come up with a new technology in 2013 and also claimed it to be less expensive and reliable. But even after one year, the authorities have not taken any measures to check its feasibility. The Pollution Control Board also has done nothing on it even after giving a number of requests in this regard.
“We worked completely in line with the norms of Food and Agricultural Organisation while transferring the endosulfan to these drums and the operation was named Operation Blossom Spring. It will be safe till June 2017 and hope we will have the best option soon,” added Dr Asheel. However, social activist Narayanan Periya came down heavily against the administration for not taking any measures in the past two years and said that waiting more would be foolish.
“HIL, the producer, had neglected all safety measures while giving such a poisonous liquid to Plantation Corporation as insecticide. So HIL is obliged to get a technology for neutralising it,” said Narayanan Periya.