At midnight on December 2nd, 1984, twenty-seven tons of lethal gases leaked from Union Carbide’s pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, immediately killing 8,000 people and poisoning thousands of others. According to Bhopal.net, "There was no warning, none of the plant's safety systems were working. In the city people were sleeping. They woke in darkness to the sound of screams with the gases burning their eyes, noses and mouths. They began retching and coughing up froth streaked with blood. Whole neighborhoods fled in panic, some were trampled, others convulsed and fell dead. People lost control of their bowels and bladders as they ran. Within hours thousands of dead bodies lay in the streets." And the water's still poisoned!
A recent study found some toxins in the groundwater at up to 2,400 times higher than World Health Organization and U.S. EPA guidelines. To mark the 25th anniversary of what is widely considered the worst industrial disaster in history, hundreds of college students staged a "die in" in Union Square park Wednesday, demanding Dow Chemical, which bought Union Carbide in 1999, accept responsibility for the clean up.
"Dow is acting really douchey," said Rocco Ferrer, a part-time participant in political satirists The Yes Men who helped arrange demonstration. "Clean up your mess already and make Bhopal fabulous." Students from Parsons the New School, as part of an all freshman "Laboratory" class, used their bodies in a massive public installation spelling out the words D-O-W in Union Square North. In a statement, Adriane Corwin, an organizer with the Bhopal campaign who has lived and worked in Bhopal, said, "Children are still drinking water full of toxins and carcinogens. That’s the real Human Element," referring to Dow’s marketing campaign.