It’s back to square one in the mission to get rid of toxic waste from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal, with German agency GIZ backing out of a proposal to airlift 350 tonnes of waste to Europe for safe disposal.

After three months of extensive contract negotiations with the Indian government, the firm has said: “Hazardous waste disposal through GIZ is no longer an option.” In a statement on why the contract did not materialise, GIZ said “uncertainties [which] extended to the German public” had grown during the months of struggling to close the deal.