On the night of 2nd December 1984, the city of Bhopal slept as a leak in the Union Carbide factory silently spread havoc. The effects remain to this date. The Bhopal Disaster is considered one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. The toxic substance emitted from Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) made its way to the surrounding towns where the industry was located. Over 500,000 people were exposed to Methyl Isocynate and other harmful chemicals.
Those affected by the gas tragedy continue to fight for the compensation owed to them in lieu of the health complications they face. Late in December 2013 around 350-400 people travelled from Bhopal to Mumbai to protest in front of the Chemical international private limited, to ask for their rights and compensation. Community Correspondent Zulekha Sayed went to the spot to talk to the protestors.
This was not the first leak from the factory, there had been smaller ones before, which were ignored by the management. If precautions and warning from the staff working in the factory had been taken seriously by the management, the Bhopal disaster would not have happened and many lives would have been saved.
It’s been 28 years the accident happened but the people are still suffering from the reactions and recovering from the trauma they had to face due to lack of safety precautions at the industry. People suffered acute symptoms like burning in respiratory tract and eyes, breathlessness, stomach pains and vomiting. The chemical affected their kidneys, liver and respiratory system. Years later there continue to be still births and babies born with physical deformations. Those adversely affected, have lost any other opportunities to earn a living.
“A case was filed in court against this company when I was 15 years old. At that time there was a ulcer formed in my stomach due to gas emission, it was huge ball of gas. Then I underwent an operation, it took 2-3 years to recover. Even today I haven’t fully recovered”, says one of the survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
The factory in Bhopal has long since shut down.The main aim of the protestors to gather for this protest in Mumbai was to get the attention of company executives. They demanded that the Chief Minister of Bhopal should ensure the proper disposal of the chemicals still present in the area since 1984 tragedy safely, and to get them their compensation so they can get proper medical treatment for themselves.
It is important for the survivors to continue to make this noise because were it left to anyone else, the voices asking for justice would be brushed under the carpet.
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