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Story Publication logo January 19, 2021

Over 3 Decades After Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Families Struggle To Pick up Threads of Life

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Azaan, 3, with his mother Nagma. Image by by Rohit Jain. India, 2020.
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On 3rd December 1984, Bhopal was devastated by a leak of poison gas (methylisocyanate) from a...

Mohd Shafiq was eight years old when his mother vomited blood due to inhalation of MIC gas leaked from the UCIL factory. Thirty years later, Shafiq was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and hypertension (HTN). For the last eight years, he has been on dialysis, which he has to take twice a week.

Last month, Shafiq had symptoms of Covid-19 and the BMHRC put his dialysis on hold until they received his Covid-19 test report. Due to a delay in dialysis, his conditions worsened. He had swelling in his entire body. He was later admitted to another hospital and given dialysis as soon as he was tested positive.

The deaths of four workers at the Rourkela Steel Plant last week due to a toxic gas leak is the latest in India's long toll of industrial disasters. Last year alone saw 30 odd minor and major such events including the LG polymers gas leak in Visakhapatnam and the Baghjan gas leak in Assam. While most such preventable "accidents" make the news, the lifelong consequences they leave for their victims, including the environment, generally don't. The Bhopal gas leak disaster is a case in point.

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