Marathon organized to remember Bhopal gas tragedy victims
Several people participated in Bhopal in memory of those who lost their lives in 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy caused by a plant of Union Carbide.
Talking to reporters on Sunday, one of the organizers, Alok Pratap Singh, said: "The youth of Bhopal do not really know what happened at the tragedy years ago. It is important for them to know what happened, so that nothing of this kind repeats itself. We aim to inspire the youth and instill a determination in their hearts and minds by organizing this marathon."
The government says the disaster killed around 3,500 whereas the civil society and other social activists assess that 8,000 people died in the immediate aftermath and thousands have died of illnesses related to gas exposure in the years that followed. In a nutshell, they say at lease 25,000 people have died since 1984.
Affected people say the compensation given was based on government figures from the immediate aftermath that are grossly under-estimated.
They say people are still suffering even today and even dying due to the ill effects of the gas.
Participants running at the event also emphasized with those who are still bearing the brunt of the gas leak that caused several ailments.
"Today we are running in this marathon to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the Bhopal gas tragedy. A lot of people have been seriously affected and are still bearing the brunt of the gas leak," said a participant, Koel Acharya.
A recent study conducted by one of India's leading think-tanks, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), has confirmed the presence of toxic chemicals in drinking water and says it is slowly poisoning thousands more people.
The CSE report contradicts the government's findings, saying samples taken from around the factory site were found to contain chlorinated benzene compounds and organochlorine pesticides 561 times the national standard.
Samples taken as far as 3 km (1.9 miles) away from the plant were found to have toxic chemicals 38.6 times more than the standard. The report said there could be no other source of these toxins than Union Carbide.