It was just after midnight on December 3, 1984 in Bhopal India. A cloud of poisonous gas hovered over the sleeping city.

Methyl isocyanate or MIC was leaking from the Union Carbide factory - an American owned pesticides plant. The city was about to become the site of the world's worst industrial disaster.

The Union Carbide plant in Bhopal

The Union Carbide plant had been making pesticides for years without problems, but on that night something went horribly wrong. 

A faulty valve allowed water to enter the MIC storage tank. The mix caused an explosion and the release of a lethal gas cocktail into the Bhopal night.

Thousands of men, women and children were killed that night and the lives of thousands of others were ruined forever.

Bhopal residents sued Union Carbide for billions. An out of court settlement was reached between the plant and the Indian government.

More than 500,000 people were awarded compensation. The sum was just over $2,000 per family.

More than two decades later babies continue
to be born with defects linked to the leak

More than two decades later survivors still face constant sickness, and it is not uncommon for babies to be born with defects linked to the leak. 

And then there is the dying – after effects are still taking their toll at a rate of one a day. Meanwhile the fight for rehabilitation, accountability and compensation goes on.

It Happened In… Bhopal is the story of the events of that night told by the people who witnessed them first hand.

 

Watch Part One of the programme here:

Watch Part Two of the programme here:

 


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