The Great Carbon Credit Con
In the fields around this giant chemicals factory in Gujarat, the barren soil smells of paint stripper and the water from the well makes you gag. So why has it been given tens of millions of pounds of taxpayer-funded UN ‘green reward points’, which are traded hungrily on the financial markets at huge profit?
Nadene Ghouri - 01st June 2009
The farmers, faces wizened and browned from hours in the harsh Gujarati sun, lower a bucket into a well. It’s a solid-brick cylinder 100ft deep. The sun is high in the sky, beating down on the scorched earth. In the baked fields, maize and cotton have been planted. But none of the crops look very healthy. Leaves are wilted and tinged brown. Nothing has been watered for months.
Radha, a tough, sinewy widow and the only female farmer here, says that the well, which draws from deep groundwater, used to adequately supply the village and surrounding farms.
‘We have plenty of water – but water is the problem,’ she says.
As the bucket returns to the top, we can make out a white, almost oily-looking film on the surface of the liquid, which has formed little snowflake shapes.
She scoops up some water and asks us to smell it. It has an odour so acrid it catches in the back of our throats, making us cough.
‘We can’t irrigate our crops with it,’ she says. ‘It’s the water of death. It kills most crops we put it on.’
‘Gone bad,’ says the man who brought up the pail.
Tags: Carbon Credit scam