The toxic rice was stored at the Co-operative Supply and Marketing Society at Minicoy Island since 2005 and was later found unfit for consumption. This was when the administration decided to dump the rice near the coast. Social and environmental activists have raised alarm and said that the move could adversely affect marine life.
Sources in the area claimed that 407 bags of rice were dumped in the first phase on Saturday night. In spite of a Chief Conservator of Forests stationed in the islands, the administration did not see his permission before dumping the rice 12 nautical miles off the coast.
It is also understood that no action was taken against those who brought in the spoilt rice to the island in 2005. A local activist, Dr Muneer commented, "It appears that they are misusing a provision under the law that food waste can be disposed of 12 nautical miles away from land, which is only a provision to facilitate mariners to dispose cooked food waste."
An official at the National Institute of Ocean Technology in Chennai, has however stated that the dumping of bio-degradable waste in sea with a depth of 1,000 metre at 12 nautical mile will not pose a grave risk to marine life. The unnamed official commented, "But the administration should have obtained an environmental clearance."