Asna Bee spends the day confined inside her home in in Nawab Colony, Bhopal, India due to disabilities caused by the 1994 MIC gas leak disaster as well as groundwater contamination. Because of reproductive difficulties and disabilities caused by both the leak and the subsequent groundwater contamination, the women in the neighborhoods surrounding the Union Carbide (UCIL) Bhopal facility are deemed undesirable marriage partners. They continue to face significant social stigma. Many are unable to attain economic security and are often viewed as a liability.
The UCIL (now DOW Chemical) pesticide manufacturing plant, established to boost India's "Green Revolution," leaked 27 tons of Methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas on December 2, 1984. The world’s worst industrial disaster killed close to 8,000 people and exposed over half a million people to the toxic gas, causing temporary and permanent disabilities.
The health impacts of the exposure to MIC are being passed down to next generations. Toxic chemicals from the abandoned plant continue to contaminate the soil and groundwater. My photo essay documents the toxic legacy of India’s Green Revolution.
For over three decades the Indian government has continued to show negligence in providing relief to the victims, cleaning up the contamination and punishing the perpetrators. In order to entice foreign investments, developing countries often overlook the environmental, health and safety violations of the corporations that set up operations within their borders.
After a 26-year long legal battle, the Indian court sentenced the chairman of UCIL and seven others guilty of causing death by negligence, while the US corporation responsible for the disaster went scot-free. For many Bhopalis, the Green Revolution continues to be a life long curse.