Thousands of people suffered agonising deaths in 1984 when Union Carbide released a cloud of toxic gas in Bhopal, India. Another 15,000 died afterwards, victims of the toxic cloud of methyl-isocyanate gas (MIC), and 100,000 still require constant care.
The abandoned factory continues to leak chemicals into the surrounding environment, sickening another 30,000 people. The poisonous gas and the chemicals leaching into the environment have caused birth defects, cancers, infertility, learning disabilities and chronic diseases.
Dow Chemical now owns Union Carbide. Neither company accepts responsibility. Neither has agreed to clean up the poisonous remains of the factory.
Although the long nightmare continues, the Sambhavna Clinic is growing hope. Since 1996 the clinic has offered free medical care to Bhopal survivors. An important part of the care offered is the clinic’s medicinal garden.
Health Care without Harm (HCWH) created the film below, telling the story of the clinic’s approach to treatment. In a press release about the film, they say:
In the video, Satinath ‘Sathyu’ Sarangi, a founding trustee of the Sambhavna Clinic, discusses one of the most traditional aspects of the clinic’s treatment: a healing garden. Medicinal plants and herb are grown in the garden, and staff harvest and prepare them for use in treatment of illness. During their visits to the clinic, patients are allowed to dig plants from the clinic’s healing garden to take home to grow. They are given instructions on how to prepare their own treatments from the plants. In some parts of the city, community gardens containing these herbs and plants are shared by residents.
“This clinic sends a powerful message to the people of Bhopal,” stated Bill Ravanesi, co-chair of the HCWH Green Building Work Group and producer and director of “A Garden Grows in Bhopal. “Many of the injuries suffered from the toxic spill are debilitating, and would give anyone a reason to despair. Yet, when you see the empowerment that is now being made possible through education and outreach, you feel that hope and opportunity is being provided by this clinic.” The clinic’s name, “Sambhavna,” means “possibility.”
Heath Care without Harm is an international coalition of more than 500 organizations in 53 countries, working to transform the health care sector, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment.
You can visit their website here