73.75 litres condense to 10 kg, bulk either evaporated or leaked out
Raising environmental and health concerns, officials repacking endosulfan in fresh vessels have found that the pesticide has either leaked out or evaporated from a corroded barrel kept at the Plantation Corporation of Kerala’s (PCK) Cheemeni estate.
It came to the notice of the officials of the Pollution Control Board, Hindustan Insecticide Ltd., medical team, and the taskforce appointed by the district administration when they started to repack the banned pesticide on day three of ‘Operation Blossom Spring’ at the PCK warehouse at Cheemeni, located in the southern part of the district, on Tuesday.
According to the data available with the officials, the Cheemeni estate had a stock of 73.75 litres of the “killer” pesticide.
To their surprise, the officials found that bulk of the pesticide either got evaporated or leaked out of the rusted barrel in which the pesticide had been kept since 2003, when it was banned following a ruling of the Kerala High Court.
The personnel could find just 10 kg of condensed form of the pesticide in the corroded barrel as they painstakingly cleared contaminated soil, logs, and other items inside the warehouse and stocked them in five UN-approved high density polyethylene barrels, Mohammed Asheel, taskforce convener of the operation, told The Hindu.
Later, the authorities received a clearance certificate from the Pollution Control Board affirming that the operation was successfully carried out at the Cheemeni warehouse, Dr. Asheel, assistant nodal officer of the Endosuflan Rehabilitation Cell, said. District Collector V.N. Jithendran congratulated the taskforce for successfully executing the delicate operation.
Mr. Jithendran, who visited the spot, reviewed the operations at the PCK warehouses at Periye, Rajapuram, and Cheemeni. As many as 1,600 litres of the pesticide had been transferred to fresh barrels since the operation began on June 17. Interacting with the officials, Mr. Jithendran urged them to prepare a draft report for evolving an action plan to facilitate the final phase of the detoxification process, which is planned to be executed outside the district in three months.
C. Jayakumar, Stockholm Convention Observer and director of the Thiruvananthapuram- based environmental agency Thanal, Saini Philip from the Alappuzha Medical College, and the taskforce members were present at the meeting.