Students studying amid toxic waste in Amlekhgunj

Pathlaiya, December 3:

People in Amlekhgunj, Bara, have been exposed to serious health hazards because a large quantity of date-expired pesticides are stored in a godown right in the middle of the village.

The odour of the pesticides is all the more hazardous for the students of Nepal National Secondary School, which is located next to the godown, according to the teachers. They said the students often complained of nausea.

“We have often tried to remove the harmful chemicals but our attempts have failed to pressure the local administration,” said a local, Amrit Karki. He wondered why the government was doing nothing to protect the students from exposure to hazards.

Hari Gajurel, chief of agriculture inputs corporation, Birgunj, said the pesticides were imported for agricultural purposes from Germany, Switzerland and other countries, some 33 years ago. “Inspection teams have made several visits to shift the toxic waste but has failed to do so on technical grounds,” Gajurel added.

The godown has 156 drums that might be having up to two kg of pesticides each. “Sixteen types of expired pesticides, including organo mercury compound, agivice, BHC, indrane gramuene, DDT and organoclodics compound, have been rotting in the godown,” he said.

A technical team from Germany had buried the toxic waste in a nearby jungle some two decades ago.

But the same team dug up the waste in 1986 and deposited it back in the godown after cattle started dying after grazing in the forest, Gajurel said. He added that the proper disposal of the waste might cost a huge amount.

Chief District Officer of Bara Kailash Nath Kharel said he had sounded the authorities concerned about the villagers’