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Social implications
There have been no systematic efforts to document the social impacts of the disaster. Official information on orphaned children and families who have lost their breadwinners is incomplete.

Over 70% of the exposed population has been in the unorganized sector, with people earning subsistence wages through labour or petty trade. A large number of men and women who pushed hand carts, carried loads, dug soil, repaired cars and did other jobs can no longer pursue their trades. Given the complete inadequacy of official rehabilitation efforts the loss of regular income has driven tens of thousands of families to chronic starvation conditions.

Issues linked to reproduction
The inability of gas exposed women to carry out reproductive functions has led to their desertion by their husbands and the younger female victims continue to suffer social discrimination in marriage.

Pollution remains a serious issue
As a result of routine dumping of toxic wastes by the factory management, communities in the neighborhood are forced to consume water contaminated with at least 7 chemicals, 2 of which are carcinogenic. While the municipal corporations have deemed its responsibilities to be over by declaring water in 200 wells unfit for consumption, Union Carbide's response has been to bury toxic sludge under farm soil, literally covering up the damage caused.

The municipal authorities have declared water from over a hundred tube wells to be unfit for drinking. Recently we have obtained a copy of a report from the State Research Laboratory of the Public Health Engineering Department that confirmed toxic contamination of ground water in 1991 and then again in 1996. Yet the State government continues to deny that there is any problem. In collaboration with Greenpeace International we are currently testing samples of soil and water from within and around the Carbide factory. A comprehensive report will be available at the time of the anniversary.

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