Then the people died in bulk, today they are losing them one by one. It is just a slow painful death for the people. Today, the people are still suffering poor eye-sight, burning sensation in the stomach, indigestion disorders, pain in the bones, loss of consciousness for days together, headaches, chest pains and many more ailments. Children and survivors have been diagnosed with cancer, tuberculosis, birth defects, chronic fever etc.
As the doctors had no clear line medical treatment for the victims when the toxic gas was released, they were given various drugs, sometimes overdoses according to the symptoms shown by the patient and sometimes even the best of medicines gave only temporary relief. The people have spent most of their earnings in medical care as the relief hospitals hardly do anything in providing them proper medicines. The families were just paid Rs 25,000 in case of illness and Rs. 1,00,000/- in case of a death and this too after twenty years of suffering.
The Government established 38 work centers for women as many of the men were killed or were permanently disabled by the disaster. In 1986 the stationery factory was set up but the women were paid miserable Rs 10/- a month. Later when a union was set up, it was raised to Rs 535/- per month. According to the victims Union Carbide now Dow Chemicals who claim that they have no liability in this industrial tragedy should arrange a long term medical treatment as well as an economic rehabilitation for survivors.
They should also immediately clean up the poisoned ground water and the contaminated areas of the site for various studies have shown that minerals like nickel, mercury and other toxics were present in the local groundwater and the breast milk of women who lived near the factory had dangerous levels of toxics including lead in their milk. Today, Union Carbide is a six billion dollar company and their sales percentage is increasing every financial year. Their image restoration strategy worked for them.
Union Carbide may have been aided in this matter by an unconscious ethnocentric bias in the public. It is reasonable to assume that if this terrible tragedy had occurred here in the United states (rather than in a foreign country), its image would have suffered even more. (Benoit, 141). The Bhopal Tragedy considered as one of the worst disasters of the industrial world had at least one beneficial consequence. It made the citizens aware of the hazards of the chemical industry; it also put the lethal nature of such industries in the open.
The Chemical Manufacturing Association thus created the Responsible Care Program and it is now being implemented in 22 countries round the world. This program aims to improve the awareness of the hazards of such chemical plants to the community, also it teaches them the emergency responses to any disasters and well as taking care of the health and safety of its employees.
Sources: Ahuja, Chetan Bhopal Tragedy and the New York Times URL : http://slater. cem. msu. edu/~ahuja/bhopal. html Benoit, William L. Accounts, Excuses and Apologies: A Theory of Image Restoration Strategies New York : State Univ.of New York Press 1995 Bogard, William The Bhopal Tragedy: Language, Logic and Politics in the Production of a Hazard SanFransico: Westview Press, Inc. 1989 Browning, Jackson B.
Union Carbide: Disaster at Bhopal Bhopal WWW URL: http://www. bhopal. com/ (May 15, 1998) Cohen, Gary Bhopal And The New World Order Third World Network URL: http://rtk. net/E8734T660 (May 15, 1998) Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Chemical Accidents: Causes, effects and important influencing factors WWW URL: http://www. opcw. nl/chemhaz/chemacci. htm (May 15, 1998).