1984 Bhopal gas tragedy: Toxic pollution continues to rise


Thousands of tonnes of toxic chemical waste, remnants of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy in which over 3,000 people were killed, is still dangerously polluting the area, an expert has warned.

Satneesh Shadangi of the Bhopal Group For Information and Action said the pollution due to the toxic material in the Union Carbide premises is steadily rising. However, successive governments have failed to act to contain this, posing a direct threat to life.

Thousands of people died on the night of December 2-3 when deadly gases leaded at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant. Experts say the deaths continue till date because of toxic environment.

“Thousands of tonnes of chemical waste, which has been dumped in the Sayantra premises for so many years, is growing. A large area of soil is getting polluted each year,” Shadangi said.

Researchers argue that disease can be prevented and the pollution of the soil, water in the area can be curtailed after a concise study is carried out to find out the continued after-effects of the disaster. But the government has not conducted any scientific research of the area.

Consequently, the demand for a study was raised under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) only to be rejected by the central government.

“From 1990 to 2013, 17 studies have been conducted by NGOs which have revealed that in a radius of about 3.5 km area, the water table up to 100 feet is polluted. The soil has also been polluted with pesticides and the presence of toxins. All this is dangerous for humans,” said Shadangi.

According to government figures, efforts are being made to get rid of the chemical waste which, over the years, has grown to 18,000 tonnes.

A solar evaporation pond was built in an are of 32 acres of land, but, experts said, chemical residue that was left after chemicals evaporated, lead to continuous degradation of land and water table.

They warn that the presence of toxic waste at the tragedy site is a disturbing fact and that the government must take steps to tackle it.