At 12.05 am in the early hours of 3 December 1984 the largest industrial tragedy occurred in a town called Bhopal in India with devastating consequences that last till today. An American company called Union Carbide had set up a chemical/pesticide plant in Bhopal. As is so often the case with industrial accidents the company had lapsed on safety measures due to cost cutting measures. There were shortfalls in the way the storage pipes and tanks which carried and stored the chemicals were treated. As a result, there was a gas leak on that fatal night which spread rapidly killing about (figures are disputed) 20,000. Almost every single family in Bhopal lost a member who succumbed to the gas.
As also is so often the case large companies which cause these accidents walk away scot free because they are able to hide behind the intricacies of global trade which blurs the boundaries between corporate and state responsibility. Union Carbide which has seen been bought by Dow Chemical blame the Indian government for not doing enough to help the residents of Bhopal. Caught between the web of the corporate blame game lie the residents of Bhopal who continue to suffer from the harmful after-effects of the contamination which has now seeped into the ground and in their drinking water. There are generations of children being born who are suffering a multitude of health problems and who are being born with disabilities.
Please pray for justice for Bhopal. The stories of those who managed to live through that horrible night resemble what I imagine hell on earth to be.