We are here at the Sambhvna Trust Clinic in Bhopal, India. I am not staying in the dorms, the students that I am working with are staying and working at the clinic for about 10 days.
The clinic was created in the late '90's after there were many raids and shut downs of other medical practices that the founder, Satinath Sarangi, was involved in helping the victims of the Union Carbide chemical spill (and gas cloud). Though the disaster occurred over thirty years ago, there is still little accountability for the event on the part of anyone involved and the reparations made were paltry. The plant hasn't even been cleaned up from all of the toxic pesticides that were left behind! Today I saw kids playing cricket next to the water that drains off the accident site and is toxic as all get out! There were animals grazing there and everyone still drinks the water even though it leads to horrible birth defects and health problems! Of course, the location is next to a slum so clean up is not exactly high on the governments list of priorities. So now that Union Carbide is part of Dow and looks like it will be swallowed up by an even bigger fish, Dupont, the cover up of the lack of responsibility continues and people just keep getting sicker. It is increasingly important to make sure that there are contingency plans, corporate and state responsibility and active involvement for these kinds of disasters, BP oil spill and the current SoCalGas methane leak. The saying around here is "No more Bhopal's" and it looks like we are not very adept at living up to that directive. We have to ask ourselves, at what point are corporate profits more important than the lives of citizens? Why is it okay to not accept culpability? How do we help make the world "user friendly" again?