36th anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy!

Today is 36th anniversary Bhopal Gas Tragedy ---widely known as the world's worst industrial disaster. Leaking toxic gas from the now-defunct Union Carbide factory in Bhopal resulted in the deaths of thousands of people on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. It was a catastrophe that had no parallel in the world’s industrial history.
Forty tons of toxic gas (Methy-Iso-Cyanate, MIC) was accidentally released from Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant, which leaked and spread throughout the city. The result was a nightmare that still has no end, residents awoke to clouds of suffocating gas and began running desperately through the dark streets, victims arrived at hospitals; breathless and blind. The lungs, brain, eyes, muscles, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive and immune systems of those who survived were severely affected. 
Methyl Isocyanate, known as MIC, is a clear, colourless liquid used for the creation of pesticides. It has also been used to create rubber.  MIC is a lachrymatory agent, meaning it has the same effects as tear gas. It is extremely toxic.  The disaster took place because water entered a tank containing MIC. This caused a chemical reaction which resulted in the buildup a much Carbon dioxide, among other things. The resulting reaction increased the temperature inside the tank to reach over 200 °C. Next morning, the magnitude of the devastation was clear. Dead bodies of humans and animals blocked the street, leaves turned black and a smell of burning chilli peppers lingered in the air. An estimated 10,000 or more people died.  About 500,000 more people suffered agonizing injuries with disastrous effects of the massive poisoning. None can say if future generations will not be affected.
According to eyewitness Rashida Bi and Champa Devi Shukla, Goldman Environment Prize awardees, the groundwater around the four-kilometre near the factory area had been contaminated of reckless dumping of extremely poisonous waste within the pesticide factory till 1984 and outside it in 1996. Since 1990, groundwater has been tested more than a dozen times by the government and non-government agencies. These have also shown pesticides, heavy metals and poisonous chemicals, including six persistent organic pollutants, at depths greater than 30 meters and a distance of several kilometres from the factory.
Many activists such as--- Sainath Sarangai (a metallurgical engineer), Rachna Dhingra and Abdul Jabbar, who passed away recently, played a vital role in providing justice to the victims and kin of deceased.  Sadly, a number of victims are still waiting for justice.  A tearful tribute to those who lost their lives in the disaster.
 

- Prabhakar Purandare

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