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Midnight toxic gas scare hits 3,500 people in Indore

Friday - October 5, 2018 10:57 am , Category : WTN SPECIAL
Representative Image
Representative Image


In a midnight scare reminiscent of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, over 3,500 residents of an Indore locality woke up to nausea and vomiting following the circulation of some obnoxious and toxic gas in the air. The incident set the alarm bells ringing in the municipal corporation whose officers rushed to the spot and started testing the water and air samples around, though no one had a clue on how or why it happened. The locality, predominantly a thickly populated slum area, lies on the side of a nullah. It is being said that the nullah was contaminated by some chemical spill from some factory late in the night that led to a pungent odour permeating the air. This toxic inhalation led to the dizziness and vomiting that the slum dwellers suffered.

Once news spread, the police were informed and several of the residents were rushed to the hospital in semi-conscious state in the wee hours. Many of them had red swollen eyes infected by the gas. Surprisingly, the corporation officials confirmed after testing the water that no such chemical contamination was found therein which could lead to such foul stench and resultant sickness. However, they later added that it was possible the contaminated water had flown by and the same thus could not be tested. Be what it may, but it is clear that somewhere something was wrong which led to this near catastrophic incident. Had the gas not woken up the residents, or had it been more toxic than permissible levels, casualties could have happened. The nullah is surrounded by several small cottage industries and chemical factories upstream. Many of them are illegally dumping their chemical refuge in the nullah unchecked by municipal authorities.

In an era of heightened activity surrounding cleanliness that the city is engaged in, such reckless management of industrial effluents is a worrisome trend. The nullah is itself unclean and it should have been treated years ago. Had it been a restored and protected ecosystem, industries would not have the temerity to abandon their waste chemicals in it so openly. That was the first flaw of the administration. The second is allowing industries to operate in disregard to environment norms. How or where they are dumping their waste and why they are not being recycled or dumped scientifically are things which the corporation authorities should have checked. It is understandable there must have been deliberate oversight by those responsible due to their vested interests and despite violations the industrial units were allowed to go on. The incident could have easily escalated into a major tragedy, killing several hundred people, just the way negligence caused such a gory incident like the Bhopal tragedy.

We often wake up and act late, only once an incident happens. Most of our bridge collapse, fire and flooding incidents happen only because of our unpreparedness and years of past negligence. Only if we plan right and act beforehand to remedy the lacunae, calculating the future implications, much of our social mess can be cleared and a smarter and safer society can be created. We must learn to value the preciousness of the human life.


 
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