Ratan Tata's offer to help find funds to remove the toxic waste in UCC's Bhopal plant is inconsistent with the `polluter pays' principle.

THE `polluter pays' principle, which is a basic part of environmental law, requires that polluters bear the remedial or clean-up costs of the damage they cause to the environment and the expenditure of compensating the victims of the pollution. In the case of the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, the polluter, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), may claim that it fulfilled the second part of this principle, that is, payment of compensation to the victims through the settlement with the Gove rnment of India, approved by the Supreme Court. But the question of fixing the liability for the remediation of the toxic waste left behind by its subsidiary Union Carbide India Ltd. (UCIL), which ran the abandoned pesticide plant in Bhopal, continues to be intractable.

For complete text: