Bhopal

Suketu Mehta on this sad continuing disaster:

This is the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, an epic mess that started one night when a pesticide plant owned by the American chemical giant Union Carbide leaked a cloud of poisonous gas. Before the sun rose, almost 4,000 human beings capable of love and anguish sank to their knees and did not get up. Half a million more fell ill, many with severely damaged lungs and eyes.

An additional 15,000 people have since died from the aftereffects, and 10 to 30 people are said to die every month from exposure to the hundreds of tons of toxic waste left over in the former factory. But amazingly, the site still has not been cleaned up, because Dow Chemical, which since acquired Union Carbide, refuses to accept any responsibility. The groundwater is contaminated; children of the survivors suffer from genetic abnormalities; and the victims have long since run out of their measly compensation and are begging on the streets.

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4 Responses to “Bhopal”

  1. oh, that makes me so sad, just sickening.

    there’s a special level of hell reserved for the those soulless greed-merchants of petro/chemical giants such as exxon and dow who do everything in their power to shirk and worm out of their responsibilities when their company is clearly guilty of gross negligence, destroying lives and causing environmental carnage in the process.

    instead of sucking it up, taking responsibility and saying, ‘we fucked up big time, we are sorry, we will do everything we can to help those affected so that they suffer as little as possible because of our mistake, and endeavour never to allow such a negligent lapse again”, the focus is on fighting in the courts for as long as possible with the goal of having to pay as little compensation as possible to victims of their negligence. in my eyes such wanton inhumanity and disgusting greed is the very DEFINITION OF EVIL

  2. christian Says:

    What you said. It’s shocking the cold calculation involved in ignoring the death and devastation, as Chevron, Exxon and others have done in Ecuador and beyond. Imagine if an Indian company came here and set up a shoddy factory that killed thousands. Yes, the goal is to keep denying, keep the courts busy so the little people can’t ever have justice while suits and corporations justify their greed.

  3. how do they live with themselves? how do they sleep at night?

    not long ago i read somewhere that large, powerful corporations are often rife with sociopaths in high-level management positions, that promotion practices by their very nature favour people with sociopathic tenancies (charismatic, ruthless, narcissistic liars; charming, no conscience, incapable of empathy, will do what ever it takes, etc), which isn’t surprising somehow. people often think of sociopaths in terms of serial killers and criminals (and indeed many criminals and most serial killers are sociopaths) but the majority of sociopaths are highly functional is society and tend to excel where business practices favour the very characteristics that define sociopathy.

    anyway, that’s one theory/explanation as to how company management could possibly live with themselves after destroying lives and showing such callous disregard and lack of responsibility, because they actually just do not care if people are hurt in their pursuit of profits.

  4. christian Says:

    I’ve met some of these people and it’s true. I don’t think anybody is cackling about the effects of their factories or the brutality of the regimes in their employ, but their is a deliberate disconnect, which need not be there. But look how long it took Exxon to pay for their Alaska spill, and then the amloount was reduced despite obvious devastation

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