National

33 Years Later, The Bhopal Gas Tragedy Is Not Forgotten

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| December 3 , 2017 , 11:07 IST

Considered to be the world's worst industrial disaster, the Bhopal gas tragedy took place during the night between December 2-3 in 1984 at the Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL) when more than 5 lakh people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxic chemicals.

The initial death toll was pegged at 2,259 but was later updated to 3,787 by the Madhya Pradesh state government, but many thousands of others have been affected by the deadly gas leak. Even 3 generations later, the people of Bhopal near the site of the gas leak continue to be plagued by symptoms.

The birth rate has fallen dramatically, and the children that are born are at high risk of complications and birth defects. Many children born after the gas leak are unable to sit, speak or hear.

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"The impact of the gas that leaked from the Union Carbide plant is still there. There are many women who could not become mothers. This has been proved by research also. The biggest pain of a woman is not being able to become a mother," said a victim.

 The residents that survived the initial gas leak suffer from eyes complications, such as chronic conjunctivitis and scars on corneas, respiratory issues including pulmonary fibrosis and chronic bronchitis, neurological symptoms including numbness and impairment of fine motor skills.

Apart from the physical complications, the gas leak survivors also suffer from psychological conditions such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"It is 33 years since the gas tragedy took place but we are still facing problems. We haven't even received any kind of facilities from the government. The ministers in Bhopal do not care about us. They are busy in having fun," another victim said.

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"Besides giving an ex-gratia of Rs 25, 000 we were not given anything. We are not even provided treatment in hospitals," said another victim.

The toxic waste lying in the now-defunct Union Carbide is also yet to be disposed off, 33 years after the gas leak.

"Even after 33 years, the condition of the victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy is the same because both the negligence of Central and the state government. Till today not a single person or organisation have gone to jail for killing so many people," an activist said.

Victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy conducted a demonstration near the Raj Bhavan in Madhya Pradesh, protesting against the 'Run Bhopal Run' marathon being held on the anniversary of gas tragedy.