India: Residents near Bhopal gas plant drink polluted water
THE HINDU April 29, 2000
BHOPAL, APRIL 28. Nearly 5,000 families living in the vicinity of the Union Carbide
pesticide plant that had been shut down
after the 1984 gas leak disaster are being forced to consume highly polluted water rendered unfit for drinking by toxic chemicals. This was alleged by the convener of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan (BGPMUS), Mr. Abdul Jabbar, at a press conference here today. Mr. Jabbar produced samples of water drawn from the hand pumps and tube wells being used by those residing in the colonies located around the Union Carbide factory premises. While some water samples could be written off as unfit for drinking merely by observing their colour, a particular sample, which was said to have been collected from a hand pump near the railway cabin at Atal-Ayub Nagar, was emitting a pungent odor and the journalists were told that residents drinking such water were either suffering from allergic skin condition or complaining of severe stomach pain.
Mr. Jabbar said due to the poor water supply system, those residing in the worst affected colonies like J.P. Nagar, Chhola, Kenchi Chhola, Atal-Ayub Nagar, Annu Nagar and Shankar Nagar near the Carbide plant are drinking water rendered unfit by toxic waste. He cited the reports of the National Toxic campaign, Boston (1990-92), State Research Laboratory of the Madhya Pradesh Government Public Health Engineering department (1996) and Greenpeace (1999) to corroborate his charge. The Greenpeace has even declared this area as a "global toxic hotspot", Mr. Jabbar said. The people living in the 10 most affected municipal wards of the city are being forced to drink polluted water in the absence of proper drinking water supply by the State and municipal authorities, Mr. Jabbar said.