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Disaster in Bhopal

On the night of December 2nd, 1984, over 40 tons of lethal methyl isocyante (MIC) gas spilled out from Union Carbide's pesticide factory in Bhopal, India. With safety systems either malfunctioning or turned off, an area of 40 square kilometers, with a resident population of over half a million, was soon covered with a dense cloud of MIC gas. People woke in their homes to fits of coughing, their lungs filling with fluid. In the span of the first three days after the accident, over 8,000 people died in Bhopal, mainly from cardiac and respiratory arrest.

 

Gas affected survivors at a weekly meeting

For the updates and to help the people of Bhopal see these organizations: 

 

Since the disaster, over 20,000 people have died from exposure-related illnesses, and of the approximately 520,000 people exposed to the poisonous gases, an estimated 120,000 remain chronically ill.

 

Justice in Bhopal

Justice has eluded the people of Bhopal for over 17 years. Union Carbide negotiated a settlement with the Indian Government in 1989 for US $470 million, a total of US$370 to US$533 per victim, a paltry sum that is too small to pay for most medical bills. In 1987, a Bhopal District Court charged Union Carbide officials, including then CEO Warren Anderson, with culpable homicide, grievous assault and other serious offences. In 1992, a warrant was issued for Anderson's arrest.

Dow, since its merger with Union Carbide, has refused to assume these liabilities in India, despite the fact that over 20,000 people in vicinity of the Union Carbide factory continue to be exposed to toxic chemicals through groundwater and soil contamination. This stands in stark contrast to Dow's acceptance of Union Carbide's liabilities in Texas, where they recently settled an asbestos-related lawsuit.

Greenpeace and Coalition of Survivor Groups in Bhopal Demand that Dow Chemical:

- assume liability for the continuing and long-term health impacts of the disaster, including release of unpublished medical reports on the toxicity of leaked gases

- assume liability for the loss of livelihood caused as a result of the disaster by providing income opportunities to victims and support to those rendered destitute

- remove the contamination of the ground water and soil in and around the factory

- ensure that prime accused Warren Anderson, former chairman of Union Carbide, is brought to justice in the Bhopal criminal court, along with authorised representatives of the company

 

Slideshow

 

Key documents

Reports and briefings on the Bhopal disaster

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