2012 Winner

Bhopal: Second Disaster

Alex Massi- Winner of the 2012 FotoEvidence Book Award

Book Award Years

Almost four decades have passed since the infamous 1984 gas disaster caused by Union Carbide (now DOW Chemical) in Bhopal, but many local families are still living the nightmare that began on December 3, 1984. Half a million people were exposed to the toxic cloud released from the plant and thousands died within a few weeks from exposure, while all of the safety mechanisms in place failed to work. Its deadly legacy is not only affecting those who survived, but also their children, many of whom are suffering from severe neurological and physical disorders caused by the large-scale contamination of land and water that continues unabated today. Toxic waste remains buried throughout the former Union Carbide industrial complex and is polluting the city’s underground water reservoirs. As many as 30.000 people are in danger from this contamination. To avoid the pollution they have to rely water that is expensive and many cannot afford. DOW Chemical has recently been awarded a ten-year contract as a worldwide Olympic partner and as the official chemistry company for the Olympic Movement until 2020. The publicity deal, estimated to be at around US$ 150-200 million, come in addition to the US$ 7 million Olympic Stadium wrap in London, for which the Olympic Committee has been largely criticized in the past few months. Since DOW’s acquisition of Union Carbide in 2001, for a staggering US$ 11.6 billion, the American corporation has refused to accept any responsibility for remediation of Bhopal’s contamination.


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