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Connecting struggles


Indian activists rally in memory of the 1984 gas disaster victims on the accident’s 25th anniversary in Bhopal on 3 December 2009 (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)

The Bhopal disaster in 1984 was the world’s worst ever industrial catastrophe. A chemical leak from the pesticide plant led to thousands of deaths. Estimates vary but the official figure is 3,787, plus 38,478 temporary and 3,900 severe and permanently disabling injuries. Unofficial estimates are much higher.

According to the Bhopal Medical Appeal the contamination of local water is still dangerously high and there are currently 120,000 survivors who need, but are not getting, medical attention.

The plant was owned by Union Carbide at the time of the disaster, and was purchased by Dow Chemical Company in 2001, who also own a major chemical plant in Grangemouth. Dow accept no liability for the incident.

Dr Eurig Scandrett (right), lecturer in Sociology at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, has spent four years researching and documenting the experience of Bhopal survivors.

In 2009, people in Grangemouth, concerned about local safety but also in support of Bhopal survivors, appealed to Dow to take responsibility for the disaster (below)(Photo:Norman Philip).