In protest over groundwater contamination, Bhopal gas victims form human chain

Bhopal: Raising voice against groundwater contamination by Union Carbide’s poisonous wastes, gas victims formed a human chain near the long abandoned pesticide factory.

Demonstrating on the eve of the 35th anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, the victims demanded free health care, clean-up of the contaminated lands and adequate compensation from Dow Chemical, current owner of Union Carbide.

The organizations said that the MP government’s plan to build a memorial in the commemoration of the gas tragedy at the factory site was but a cover-up for this ongoing crime against the environment and people.

Over 10,000 families exposed to contaminated groundwater: Rachna Dhingra, a member of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action, said,   “A study carried out by the state government in 2005 showed that residents who were drinking the contaminated groundwater were suffering from diseases of the eyes, skin and the respiratory and digestive systems. Despite this, and despite the Supreme Court of India’s clear directions in 2012, over 10 thousand families who were exposed to the contaminated groundwater for up to 20 years continue to be denied the facility of free health care by the state and central governments.”

Extent of contamination: Rashida Bee, Goldman Environmental Prize awardee, said, “It is because of the reckless dumping of extremely poisonous waste within the pesticide factory till 1984 and outside the factory in 1996, that the groundwater has been found to be contaminated in places over four kilometer from this factory. Since 1990, the groundwater in and around the factory has been tested some 16 times by government and non-government agencies and these have shown that pesticides, heavy metals and poisonous chemicals, including six persistent organic pollutants are present at depths greater than 30 metres and distances of several kilometers from the factory.”

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