A scientist fellow in the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) at Nagpur on Friday alleged that the NEERI was indulging in “unsafe dumping of toxic chemical and hazardous waste inside its premises”.

According to Manish Rahate, a Scientist Fellow at NEERI since 2010, the NEERI's mandate and the sole purpose of existence is to safeguard environment and provide solution to control environmental pollution.

“But the NEERI is doing exactly opposite to its mandate by giving feasible reports for pollution spreading industrial establishments. I have recently exposed the unsafe dumping of toxic chemical and hazardous waste inside the NEERI’s premises and release of untreated toxic chemicals in normal drainage system meeting Nag River and ultimately polluting Gosikhurd Dam” Mr. Rahate told The Hindu.

Mr. Rahate also pointed out that the elite institution whose mandate also includes rendering assistance to the industries of the region, local bodies in solving the problems of environmental pollution, is releasing toxic waste without any pre-treatment inside the institute premises like heavy metals, chemicals, acids and other environmental hazardous materials in natural water streams.

According to an ISO Periodic report for the period of August 2012 to July 2013, there is no proper monitoring mechanism at present to verify whether effluent and waste disposal is as per norms. The NEERI has hardly taken any substantial initiative so far which can highlight its concern for environmental initiatives through its operators within its premises.

Mr. Rahate also claimed that the institute “banned” him from entering into its premises.

But the NEERI has refuted all the allegations levelled by Mr. Rahate.

In a press release, the institution said the hazardous waste (Handling, Management & Transboundary) rules are meant for production or industrial use of chemicals. NEERI uses chemicals not for production or industrial use, but only for analytical and R&D purpose. NEERI does not produce any hazardous waste. If someone claims about the existence of toxic material, the related analytical data need to be produced in support of the claim specifically with reference to that particular toxic material, as there are various processes and stipulated limits of chemicals defined in the rule, beyond which specific chemical becomes toxic.

Calling the allegations levelled by Mr. Rahate as “extremely false and unsubstantiated” the press release said the ISO objection in question had not referred about any toxic waste lying in NEERI. The NEERI is following national environmental norms, but there is always scope of improvement and accordingly NEERI management has already taken initiatives in this direction as per the ISO recommendations.

Dr. Prakash Kumbahre, the PRO of NEERI denied that Mr. Rahate has been banned from entering the institute’s premises.