What Happened in Bhopal
The Bhopal Story
The world’s worst industrial disaster is happening today.
Thirty years ago, deadly plumes of poisonous Methyl Isocyanate gas—about 500 times more toxic than cyanide– leaked from the Union Carbide factory and killed more than 8,000 immediately.
But Carbide’s poisons continued to kill – over 22,000 people have succumbed to the effects of the gas disaster in the last 30 years. More than half a million continue to live with lingering health problems like cancer, respiratory illnesses, developmental disabilities, birth disabilities, cancer and reproductive disorders. The toxic contamination of underground water and soil in and around the abandoned factory site is one of the persistent testimonies of corporate crime and impunity. International studies have found mercury, lead and organochlorines in the breast milk of women living near the plant.
Dow Chemicals, the current owner of Union Carbide, refuses to accept the disaster-related liabilities. Demonstrating blatant disregard for human suffering and struggle, the company chooses to arm-twist Indian government to close the Bhopal chapter forever — and promising more investment in return. In the last three decades, there has been little relief or justice for the survivors. Whatever little they have achieved so far from the government has been due to their own resilient and relentless struggle.
About the Bhopal justice movement
The justice for Bhopal movement led by the survivors is one of the longest-running people’s movement in independent India. The movement raises issues that resonate with the discourse that democratic India is witnessing today as it transitions into a 21st century economic powerhouse. In this debate, concepts of economic growth, foreign investment, corporate crime, environmental protection and people’s rights are bitterly contested.