"Bhopal: the Victims Are Still Being Born"

"Bhopal is a calamity without end. On 3 December 1984, clouds of poison leaking from a Union Carbide pesticides plant brought death to thousands in this central Indian city. Today, fully a quarter of a century later, victims of this, the world's worst industrial disaster, are still being born.

Here, in neighbourhoods where people depend on water contaminated by chemicals leaking from the abandoned factory and to mothers exposed to the toxic gas as children, brain damaged and malformed babies are 10 times more common than the national average. Doctors at Bhopal's Sambhavna Clinic say that as many as one in 25 babies are still born with defects and developmental problems such as a smaller head, webbed feet and low birth weight.

Those who were mere children when the fumes overcame this city of a million are suffering, too. Painful skin lesions, stomach problems and raw, itchy eyes are common complaints among thousands of families, some of whom moved to Bhopal only in recent years. And the clinic says that Bhopal now has some of India's highest rates of gall bladder and oesophageal cancers, TB, anaemia and thyroid abnormalities. Young girls start menstruating much later than normal and experience painful gynaecological problems, which often lead to hysterectomies at a young age."

Nina Lakhani reports for the UK Independent November 29, 2009.

See Also:

"Bhopal's Women Still Bear Scars of Gas Hell" (Scotsman)

"Bhopal Water Still Toxic 25 Years on: Study" (Khaleej Times)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009