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Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021
Outlook.com

Mortal Melting Pots

India is fast becoming the waste dump of the world. The hazardous stuff is only the start of it.

Mortal Melting Pots
Sanjay Rawat
Mortal Melting Pots
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Around two decades ago, Lawrence Summers, then World Bank chief economist, outraged many when he argued in an internal memo that the economic logic behind dumping toxic waste in low-wage countries was “impeccable”. His rationale: less developed countries are “under-polluted” and that “foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality” would be lesser in countries with lower wages. Cut to now and the thing to ask is: does India too believe that importing the world’s trash makes for good economics?

Trade figures illustrate how imports of hazardous waste into India have been growing precipitously in the last few years. It’s now serious business, worth thousands of crores. And the government seems to be encouraging it, with no care to the great harm it’s putting the local environment and the health of Indians to. To get an idea of the scale of operations, consider this: import of stainless steel waste and scrap went up from 10,08,99,729 kg in 2003-04 worth Rs 454 crore to...

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