Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Bhopal a major human tragedy

Twenty years ago tomorrow night, a little before midnight, something went horribly wrong at the Union carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India. In the following couple of hours approximately 24 tonnes of the deadly gas, methyl isocyanate (MIC) was released from the factory into the surrounding community.

According to Amnesty International between 7,000 and 10,000 people died over the next three days and more than a hundred thousand more were seriously injured by exposure to the gas. The suffering of the people continues to this day. Unfortunately, it is not only those who were present on that fateful night who are still suffering. The next generation born to those exposed on the night are showing multiple health effects and birth deformities.

Union Carbide, now 100% owned by Dow Chemical, settled out of court with the Indian Government in 1989, without the consent or involvement of the survivors of Bhopal. The compensation paid was inadequate and did not take into account the actual number of people who have died or continue to suffer to this day.

Nor does it take into consideration the fact that Union Carbide never cleaned up the factory site itself. Recent studies have shown exceedingly high levels of chlorinated solvents in the groundwater - the only source of drinking water for thousands of people who still live around the plant.

If you would like to know more about this ongoing tragedy, please visit Bhopal.net and/or sign the on-line petition.

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