Sweet torture

Sweet torture sugar seems to be a cause of tragedy in Buxar in Uttar Pradesh. Dumping of bagasse-ash by the Simbhaoli sugar mill at various sites around the town has caused severe burning accidents and irreparable eye problems. Bagasse, the stalk left after extraction of juice from sugarcane, is used as a fuel in boilers. Leftover ash is being dumped on public land within four to five km from the plant. The ash has a high degree of latent heat. Children playing or defecating in sites where the ash has been dumped have lost their legs or suffered from severe burns due to the smouldering heat beneath.

The exact nature of the waste is not clear at this stage. But the various injuries caused by the ash, including eye irritation, is considered testament to its hazardous nature. Union environment minister, Jai Narain Nishad has directed the central pollution control board to send an expert team to Simbhaoli to look into the case.