On the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal explosion, hundreds of protesters have gathered outside the Indian factory which was the scene of the world’s deadliest industrial disaster. They burned effigies of the plant’s owners, held up banners, and shouted ‘We want justice!’
In the early hours of the morning, 30 years ago today, about 40 tons of deadly methyl isocyanate gas leaked from a pesticide factory owned by U.S. multinational Union Carbide and was carried by the wind into the surrounding slums.
The government’s official total of deaths is 5,295, but activists say the true figure is about 25,000 and that many people still suffer from cancer, blindness, respiratory problems and immune and neurological disorders, and that they have received inadequate compensation. They also complain that toxic waste around the plant is still contaminating water supplies for 50,000 people.
Union Carbide’s present owners, Dow Chemical has denied liability, saying it bought Union Carbide a decade after the firm settled its liabilities to the Indian government by paying $470 million. (see also my blogs of March 17, 2010 and Dec 3, 2012.) For more, see A Disastrous History of the World.