timing and in the composition of the principal actors, Bhopal is a curtain
raiser to the sordid drama of Globalisation.
Bhopal is a window to what lies at the end of Globalisation."
-- Satinath Sarangi, Genoa, July 2001.
December 3, 2004
DAY OF ACTION FOR BHOPAL
of Injustice: Bhopal disaster 20 Years on From Amnesty International:
information, pdf report, links and resources.
and Corporations do not live up to their obligations, it is only
solidarity among workers, trade unions and people’s groups that
can carry us forward.”
Bhopal Gas Affected Women Stationery Workers Association
The Bhopal aftermath – generations of
"On the night of 2-3 December 1984 about 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate
leaked from a pesticide factory owned by the US company Union Carbide,
in Bhopal, India, exposing over half a million people to a highly toxic
cloud. Satinath Sarangi reports on the health studies continuing in
the aftermath of the disaster. He calls for better treatment and care
for women who have suffered reproductive ill-health...
Background to the disaster Late on Sunday evening, 2 December 1984,
during routine maintenance of the methyl isocyanate (MIC) tanks, a large
quantity of water entered one of the 60 tonne storage tanks. None of
the safety systems was operating, and this triggered off a runaway reaction
resulting in a tremendous increase of temperature and pressure. Just
before midnight, a deadly cocktail of MIC, hydrogen cyanide, mono methyl
amine and other chemicals was carried by a northerly wind to the neighbouring
communities. Over the next couple of hours close to 40 tonnes of the
chemicals spread over the city of about one million people. People woke
up surrounded by a poison cloud so dense and searing that they could
hardly see. As they gasped for breath, the effects of the gas grew even
After the incident, no one under 18 years old was registered as a victim.
Yet, at least 200,000 children are estimated to have been exposed to
the gas, half of them girls. As they approach the age when they should
start menstruating, some girls find that they are experiencing three
or four cycles a month, others have only one period in three months.
Many experience pain which more than one have strikingly described as
‘writhing like a fish out of water’. It is hard for young girls to talk
about such things and their mothers do not know what to do. We are looking
for ways to treat this without hormonal drugs.
A sample of testimonies taken by the Sambhavna Clinic during one day
in June 1999"
and obstetrical survey of Bhopal women following exposure to methyl
Shilotri NP, Raval MY, Hinduja IN. J Postgrad Med 1986;32:203-5
chemical danger remains today
BBC reports that "Thousands of Indians around Bhopal remain at
risk of poisoning 20 years after a major disaster in the city... thousands
of tonnes of toxic waste are still stored inadequately nearby, poisoning
the town's water supply."
from BBC on the anniversary
Bhopal: Dow Chemical
must take responsibility for clean-up
on, the Bhopal plant continues to ruin the lives of the surrounding
communities. The effects of the leak and the contaminated environment
continue seriously to affect people's basic human rights. UCC -- and
Dow who merged with UCC in 2001 -- have still not cleaned up the site
or stopped pollution that started when the plant opened in the 1970s,
meaning local residents are continuing to fall ill from drinking contaminated
Write a letter or send an e-mail, based on information from Amnesty
What happened in Bhopal?
"On the night of Dec. 2nd and 3rd, 1984, a Union Carbide plant
in Bhopal, India, began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate.
None of the six safety systems designed to contain such a leak were
operational, allowing the gas to spread throughout the city of Bhopal.
Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 20,000 have died to
date as a result of their exposure. More than 120,000 people still suffer
from ailments caused by the accident and the subsequent pollution at
the plant site..."
Read all about the accident at:
Short History Of Bhopal The corporate crime par excellence,
from Bhopal Net:
THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE IN BHOPAL
"Bhopal began as a classic instance of corporate double-standards:
Union Carbide was obliged to install state-of-the-art technology in
Bhopal, but instead used inferior and unproven equipment and employed
different operating procedures and maintenance and safety standards
to those used in its US 'sister-plant'. The motive was not simply profit,
but also control: the company saved $8 million, and through this deliberate
under-investment managed to retain a majority share of its Indian subsidiary.
Bhopal continued as a failure of government regulation, when Carbide
were allowed to site this ultra-hazardous and inherently flawed chemical
facility less than two miles from the centre of a city of 800,000 people.
Bhopal progressed as a failure of official monitoring, as a succession
of local inspectors passed the plant fit for production...."
last 20 years, some of the poorest people on earth, sick, living on
the edge of starvation, illiterate, without funds, powerful friends
or political influence, have found themselves fighting one of the world's
biggest and richest corporations, backed by the government, military,
and, it often seems, the judiciary of the world's most powerful nation..."
Things You Can Do To Help Make Dow Responsible For Bhopal
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB)
"is a coalition
of people's organizations, non-profit groups and individuals who have
joined forces to campaign for justice for the survivors of the Union
Carbide Disaster in Bhopal. Three organisations of survivors from Bhopal
play a leading role in the international network. Members of ICJB continue
to pressure Union Carbide's current owner The Dow Chemical Company and
the US and Indian governments to ensure adequate health care, safe environment
and proper rehabilitation for the survivors of the disaster and their
children. Exemplary punishment of the Corporation and its guilty officials
is one of the key demands of ICJB..."
Read about their goals at the link above. Organizations are welcome
to sign on.
Women Activists Fetch Huge Rewards For Gas Victims
May 2004: "The campaign tour undertaken by the women activists
of Bhopal this year has fetched huge rewards for the struggle for justice
for the thousands of gas victims.
In a press conference organised here on Tuesday, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila
Stationery Karmchari Sangh leaders Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla
and social activist Satinath Sarangi informed about the achievements
of their recent campaign tour to USA and UK.
The women leaders, who were awarded with the prestigious Goldman Environmental
Prize on April 19 last in San Francisco, USA, spoke about their future
plan for the utilisation of the prize money of US $ 1,25,000..."
full story: http://us.altnews.com.au/drop/node/view/86
Two Indian women
honoured for role in Bhopal disaster
SAN FRANCISCO, Apr 19 (AFP)
"Two Bhopal women who have defied social norms, poverty and sickness
in a quest to hold Dow Chemical Company accountable for the 1984 Union
Carbide disaster that killed more than 20,000 people in India are being
honoured here today as environmental champions. Rashida Bee and Champa
Devi Shukla are among seven grass roots activists from around the globe
being awarded this year's Goldman Environmental Prize. Each award, referred
to as the Nobel Prize for the environment, comes with 125,000 dollars
that the winners are free to spend as they wish. "Getting this award
is going to, once again, bring the issue of continuing disaster in Bhopal
to the world's attention," Bee said during an interview in the Goldman
offices. "We think this will help get more people, including trade unions
and students, to join with the victims." Shukla and Bee plan to use
the prize money to create a trust fund dedicated to providing medical
care for children of disaster survivors and developing employment options
for those driven from careers by effects of the toxins..."