Today is the 36th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy that took place on the night of December 2-3 in the year 1984. An accidental leak in the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, released methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and killed thousands.
A report released in April, 2019, by International Labour Organisation (ILO) dubbed the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy as one among the world’s ‘major industrial accidents’ of the 20th century. The report stated that at least 30 tons of methyl isocyanate gas, released from the Union Carbide pesticide plant, had affected more than 600,000 workers and nearby inhabitants. The final death toll was estimated to be between 15,000 and 20,000. Some half a million survivors suffered respiratory problems, eye irritation or blindness, and other maladies resulting from exposure to the toxic gas; many were awarded compensation of a few hundred dollars. There were aftereffects, such as increased cases of cancer and birth defects, which were reported in years to come.
Investigations later established that substandard operating and safety procedures at the understaffed plant had led to the catastrophe. In 1998 the former factory site was turned over to the state of Madhya Pradesh. India marks National Pollution Control Day on December 2 in the honour of people who lost their lives during the horrific 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Several local studies as well as international level research have underlined the long-term health effects of exposure to the deadly methyl isocyanate (MIC) and demand that enhanced compensation should be paid accordingly to the survivors. The wait for justice for the survivors of one of the world’s biggest industrial catastrophe continues on the 36th anniversary of the disaster with subsequent governments having given up on the cause, says the organisations fighting for their rights.