The Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal had several lessons to teach. Unfortunately, very few of these lessons have been learnt. Why? Perhaps because of our propensity to ask the wrong questions. Questions such as: “What is the best place to dump toxic waste?” The right question for a true democracy would be: “How can we avoid generating hazardous wastes?”
Twenty years after the world’s worst industrial disaster, the city of Bhopal is divided by fact and fiction, true and false claims, and an endless blame game between the survivors, struggling to keep the issue alive, and the decision--makers and bureaucrats, who are trying desperately to forget the gas tragedy
The development or closure of industry is generally based on the premise that industry must be isolated from other human activities. Not only does this throw workers out of jobs, it does nothing to control pollution, because every relocated hazardous unit will simply continue to pollute elsewhere. It would be better to promote industry that protects both livelihoods as well as environment
Contaminated water is just one of the problems that the gas victims of Bhopal have to face. There's also the continued apathy about their compensation, the continuing struggle for medical treatment, and the reluctance of Dow Chemical (Carbide's new owners) to clean up around the old plant
This investigation of the toxic hotspots in just one Indian city, Delhi, reveals that the disaster management plan for even the capital remains largely on paper. Delhi alone has 1,777 industries generating hazardous wastes, but no chemical hazards map. Tilak Bazaar, Asia's largest chemical market, is in the heart of Chandni Chowk. It's a tinderbox waiting to explode
Bhopal brought to attention the absences in the law on industrial disasters. There was no way to extract vital information from the industry, no provision for interim relief, and no clarity on how to deal with an offending corporation. Since 1984, statutory law has moved, grudgingly, some distance, but it is in the courts that the law has been largely played out. Are the wrongs inflicted on victims by the system finally gaining recognition?
Industrial activities are a major source of air, water and land pollution, leading to illness and loss of life all over the world. Pollution is a slow, continuous process. Some illnesses take 20 years to manifest
Women's physiology and role in society make them bear the brunt of environmental toxins. There has been an alarming rise in endometriosis and cancers amongst women worldwide. A major source of the problem could literally be in the air
A filmmaker's notes and observations as she travels through seven states of India, from the chemical factories of Eloor in Kerala to dust hills and ash ponds in Orissa, and the uranium mines of Jadugoda in Jharkhand. Everywhere her camera encounters crippled children, sick adults, filthy water, foul air and dead lands.