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Three decades in the tragic incident in Bhopal which made the remaining generations suffer there. The n night of December 2, 1984 has changed the life to a miserable one since then. The greatest Industrial disaster – The Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

The Bhopal gas on Dec 2nd, 1984 led to new laws to tighten regulatory grip over hazardous factories, but safety audits remain elusive. After the midnight on December 3, 1984 tens of thousands of pounds methyl isocyanate (MIC), a highly toxic gas used in manufacturing chemicals, leaked in the air over Bhopal from the city’s Union Carbide pesticide plant. The plumes of poisonous vapors killed 3,200 people in the immediate aftermath, says the government, through unofficial estimates fluctuate widely between 4.000 and 15,000. But it’s undeniable that thousands of people died in hours after they inhaled the gas and thousands more from health problems they developed later as a result of exposure.

5295 deaths were recorded by the government in the years that followed the gas disaster. However activists, and the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research estimate 25,000 people actually died in the aftermath, and due to long-term effects. The effects seemed really long term affecting the 3rd generation. Many people inhaled the gas which destructed their inhaling system as well as other severe problems which passed on to their kids.

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 The people most affected by these where the slums who resided nearby. Many later were shifted to other places which were again not developed. They faced water and cleanliness issues. Many family losing their bread earners and the survived ones were badly affected by the poisonous gas inhaled which left them unhealthy always. Problems in respiration, eye-sights, fertility, other disorders. And the battle is still on. 30 years of the tragic incident still affects people’s life in Bhopal. The survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

The long term effects of the toxic disaster live 30 years on in the third generation or children of survivors who were selves’ kids in 1984. Hundreds of children of affected parents are born with minor or major congenital defects. A child of 2 years suffers from blood cancer whose parents are losing hope and resources. The problems such as cerebral palsy, gastrointestinal complications, cleft palate, skin diseases and anemia were found in children and survivors and those living in areas with soil and water contamination from the residual waster that still awaits safe disposal.

It’s even sad to know that the Madhya Pradesh government wasn’t even ready until 2008 to accept any liability towards these young victims of the tragedy. It reluctantly acted when social activist approached the Supreme Court for a directive medical care to dependents of recognized gas victims. Some people who didn’t had valid identity especially children due to years issue were not given the help. People are badly devasted there. A family bearing the medical bills of their toddler and worrying about their other sibling’s future. A 2 year old boy born with a congenital disorder of club foot, Or the boy whose mother thought he was dead as he was foaming at mouth Who survived but later found her sister as detected with two holes in the heart, a congenital ventricular septal defect.

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After the Bhopal tragedy, the Centre ratified the environment protection act 1986, which for the first time introduced the concept for environmental appraisal of all projects and incorporating ecological and safety conditions while approving new ventures. Under the law, the government notified rules for management and handling of hazardous materials and regulated their manufacture and storage. This resulted in more regulatory insight but the inability of states to strengthen their labor bureaus and environment protection units caused unsafe factories to mushroom to meet the growing demands of industrialization.

On May 7, 2004, the Supreme Court had directed the authorities to supply tap water to localities around the factory after it was established that toxic waste was contaminating ground water at an alarming level. But the scheme is yet to be fulfilled despite its progress being monitored by a sitting high court judge. The groundwater in 22 settlements was contaminated. An estimated 10.000 metric tons (MT) of hazardous silt is used to be present in this pond constructed in 1977 to dumb toxic sludge from the factory.

The big industrial Disasters after 1984-

September 1992 – liquid ammonia burst out from a high-pressure vaporizing unit at national Fertilizers Limited in Panipat, killing eleven people.

February 2000: four people die and eight injured ammonium carbonate solution leaks from Mangalore Chemical and fertilizers at panambur in Mangalore.

October 2009: 12 people are killed as a fire breaks out at Indian Oil Company’s refinery near Jaipur after a leakage in a pipeline.

December 2009 – one person dies when the repair of a leaking pipeline at Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation in tuticorin goes wrong.

November 2013 – a fire at Bhushan Steel limited plant in Dhenkanal district in Odisha after a leakage results in the death of a person. Nineteen were injured.

 

 

BY SANGITA MAITY

 

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