Bhopal Toxic Spill Still a Disaster

Twenty five years after one of the worst industrial spills ever, the people of Bhopal continue to suffer the consequences of the toxic poisons that remain in their soil. The toxins that remain in the soil have filtered into the water yet no one seems to know the extent of the toxicity. What is clear from the aftermath of the toxic spill is that a second generation of Bhopal residents are now suffering the effects fo the industrial accident that was never cleaned up-from cleft palates to mental retardation.
On December 3, 1984, a tank at the Union Carbide facility in Bhopal leaked 40 tons of the poisonous and lethal methyl isocyanate gas, killing approximately 3,000 people while they slept. More than 500,000 people were said to be effected by the toxic leak and they were to receive compensation of $550 each. However, some people have yet to receive any compensation.
This is where the Bhopal tragedy turns tricky. Union Carbide was sold to Dow Chemical in 1991. But Dow claims no responsibility for the cleanup or remediation of the site since it passed through the hands of the Madhya Pradesh State government in June 1998. Dow remains committed to the story that it did not know the accident site remains unremediated and won’t take any responsibility for remediation citing potential further liability.
So, in the meantime, due to government ineptitude and possible corporate malfeasance Bhopal remains a toxic waste dump. Its people continue to suffer from an accident that happened 25 years ago. An Indian doctor expresses it best, ““Had the toxic waste been cleaned up, the contaminated groundwater would not have happened,” says Mira Shiva, a doctor who heads the Voluntary Health Association, one of many groups pressing for Dow to take responsibility for the cleanup. “Dow was the first crime. The second crime was government negligence.”