In 1984 27 tons of MIC gas leaked from Union Carbide's pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, immediately killing 8,000 people and exposing 500,000 others. Survivors and their children are suffering from all kinds of illnesses and congenital defects, and the water supply for thousands of people is still laced with toxic chemicals. Dow Chemical now owns Union Carbide. Bhopal survivors and activists are visiting 22 U.S. cities and asking citizens and Congressional leaders to pressure the company to clean up the abandoned factory and make fair restitution, as well as face criminal charges in India.
Rachna Dhingra, International coordinator for Justice in Bhopal, blames the Indian government, reluctant to lose foreign investment, for accepting a settlement with Union Carbide for $470 million dollars that hardly covered a year's worth of medical costs.
While Bhopal and its people may seem remote to Americans, Dhingra says the issue of chemicals getting into our bodies through air and water affects everyone. For example, a plant owned by Union Carbide and Dow and operated by Bayer in West Virginia is storing three times the MIC stored in Bhopal in 1984. Dhingra says an explosion there last August killed two people and was very near an MIC tank.
The group will speak to students and community groups in Doherty Hall at Carnegie Mellon from 5:30 to 7:00 this evening.