BHOPAL: Thirty-two years after the deadly MIC gas gushed out from the now defunct Union Carbide Plant on the outskirts of the city, the problems of the gas victims are far from over. They have been fighting for justice since the disaster took place on the dreadful night of December 2 in 1984. The perpetrators of the tragedy have not spent a day in jail and the victims are still suffering from serious health issues. Activists working for the victims claim that the toxic gas is still affecting the children born to parents exposed to the gas.
Doctors have mixed views on the effect of the gas on the children being born three decades after the disaster but all of them suggest that research is needed to ascertain the actual condition.
Dr Ramesh Bhargava, cardiologist, Gandhi Medical College, said that the gas should not affect the generation taking birth today. “The gas should not affect the generation taking birth now but we can’t say it with absolute certainty”, he said.
Dr M.L. Banjare, Nephrologist, Kamla Nehru Hospital said that diseases were present then too and they are occurring now as well but what had caused them can only be confirmed when a thorough research is conducted. There are various diseases and a disease can be caused by multiple factors”. Dr Sheela Bhambal, retired HOD, Dept of paediatrics, GMC, who treated the patients during the disaster said, “The condition at that time was very critical. The gas had seriously affected the children and it is possible that it continues to do so but we cannot claim anything”, she said.
The effect of MIC was studied very closely by Dr D.K Satpathy, who studied the foetuses and unborn babies after the disaster. He said, “The effect of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attack is still persists in Japan. They have conducted studies to keep track of its effects but here the government never took any interest in conducting any research to study the after-effects of the disaster. It was not just MIC but there were hundreds of gases that leaked that night.
“It was claimed by the Union Carbide that the gas will not penetrate through placenta and will not affect the unborn babies but when I studied the unborn babies, same toxic elements were found in mother and baby. Genetic mutation can occur anytime and in any generation. ICMR never conducted any research on this. More than 15 research projects were launched but they were shut down either abruptly or were never completed.”