It's been 25 years since one of the world's worst industrial disaster happened in Bhopal.The gas leak claimed the lives of young and old alike. Medical and legal redress continues to elude many of the survivors of the world’s worst industrial catastrophe till date .
The Bhopal Gas Leak
When: Night of 2-3 Dec 1984
What Happened : At 11.30pm, workers at the Union Carbide fertilizer plant in Bhopal reported burning in the eyes and suffocation due to gas leaking from a pressurized tank containing deadly methyl isocyanate (MIC). At 12.30am, the alarm siren was sounded and water spraying started. At 3am, the safety valve collapsed and the tank exploded, releasing a cloud of 40,000kg of lethal gases. A gentle breeze blew this cloud of death over sleeping people in 36 wards of Bhopal
Why? MIC needs to be kept at below 5°C, under pressure. But the refrigeration system had been shut down since June 1984. The tank and valves were defective. Temperatures up to 350°C are estimated to have been reached in the tank as the highly reactive gas decomposed and created a cocktail of poisonous gases. The final explosion was just waiting to happen
Death and injury came without warning to a sleeping population. Initial estimates put casualties at 3,000 dead and over 1 lakh hurt. Symptoms ranged from suffocation, blindness and vomiting to spontaneous abortions, lung, kidney, liver and brain damage. Over the years, more have succumbed — current estimates are 20,000 dead and over 5 lakh injured. Cattle and birds died in surrounding areas. Dead fish floated in lakes. Even trees perished