At midnight on 2nd/3rd December 1984, deadly toxins at a badly-run Union
Carbide (now wholly owned by Dow Chemicals) plant in Bhopal burst into
the atmosphere, engulfing half a million of Indias poor in the worlds
worst ever industrial disaster. In hours a historic city became a gas
chamber. As dawn broke, some 8,000 dead were strewn across the citys
streets in postures of agony. They had died in terror, choking, their
eyes, throats and lungs on fire. As they fled in blind panic from the
factory, urine and faeces ran down their legs. The gases stripped the
linings from their lungs and they drowned in their own fluids.
That was 18 years ago. Youd think that by now the survivors would
have received proper medical care, that theyd have been adequately
compensated for their loss and their suffering, that somebody would have
had to answer in court for what was done to them.
On all counts, youd be wrong.
a day for 18 years of suffering
is one of the worlds biggest, wealthiest corporations,
affording it the best lawyers, the most expensive PR, the
high-level government allies. It forced a settlement with
the Indian government which gave the survivors compensation
of a maximum of $500 each - many received less - not even enough to cover
the cost of simple medicines. Over 18 years, this works out at seven cents
per day, enough for a cup of tea.
On 7¢ a day theyve had to struggle against pain, breathlessness,
giddiness, numb limbs, aching bodies, fevers, nausea, brain damage, cancers,
anxiety attacks, menstrual chaos, depression and mental illness. Thirty
people still die every month from the effects of the gas.
They are still being poisoned
Meanwhile the the drinking water of the very same communities that
were hit in 1984 is being poisoned by cancer- and birth-defect causing
chemicals that lie in the open in the derelict factory, or were dumped
on waste ground by the company for up to ten years after the disaster.
Greenpeace found mercury at levels up to 6 million times what could have
been predicted. Dow-Carbide has refused to appear to answer charges before
an Indian court.
we are on hunger strike
On 17 July the Indian government applied to reduce charges against
Warren Anderson, the CEO of Union Carbide at the time of the disaster
- the same man who has been refusing to answer the courts summons
for 11 years. Why has it done this? Because Carbide is now owned by Dow
and Dow is a fabulously rich corporation with important interests and
powerful friends in India.
The courts judgement will be given on 27 August. If the charges
are diluted it will reduce the deaths of 20,000 people and the 18 years
suffering of the survivors to the status of a car accident and virtually
end hopes of ever getting just compensation for the victims.
We have until 27August to force the Indian Government to withdraw its
use this site to its fullest to join in the many actions that are possible
and to add your voice to our call for Justice in Bhopal.