3rd December
It was on this day...
1984 Bhopal, Union Carbide Industrial Accident

A pesticide plant in a densely populated region of Bhopal in central India, leaks a highly toxic cloud of methyl isocyanate. 2000 died instantly, 6000 have died afterwards. 600,000 were injured. Symptoms included swollen eyes, frothing at the mouth and breathing difficulties. Dead cats, dogs and birds littered the streets.

It is reported that for a full hour, numerous errors prevented staff inside the plant from noticing the massive leak. By the time that the alarm was raised, the harm had been done.

Local authorities had not been trained in procedures for handling such an accident. As it happened, most could have been saved had they placed a damp towel over their mouth and nose.

The US owned company, Union Carbide, was sued by the Indian government for $470 million. It is reported that most of the victims got just $550 (which didn't cover the treatment they needed). Those who died got $1300.

It is said that Union Carbide closed the plant down after the disaster, but that they failed to clean up the site thoroughly and that poisonous leaks still occur from the plant.

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