Alex Masi- A Toxic Legacy in Bhopal

Bhopal gas disaster second disaster photographed by Alex Masi
© Alex Masi

Cable News Network (CNN) has hosted Itialian photographer Alexi Masi’s work ‘Bhopal Second Disaster’ in its’ online photoblog.

Alex visited Bhopal nearly three decades after the 1984 gas leak which is the world’s worst industrial disaster. Masi photographed the community’s struggles with the fallout from the disaster, specifically water pollution, over a span of three years.

Methyl isocyanate (MIC), a chemical used to produce pesticides, escaped in the form of a gas cloud from the Union Carbide plant in December 1984, taking upwards of 8,000 lives in the immediate aftermath.

Since then more than 20,000 other deaths have been blamed on illnesses directly related to the gas leak. In addition, hundreds of thousands of survivors have reported chronic adverse health effects. There has been a jump in the number of cancer cases, TB cases and birth deformaties in communities near the factory. 1 in 5 chronically ill survivors are in desperate need of attention (BMA, 2010).

Many communities surrounding the abandoned plant get their water from plastic tanks refilled by surface pipes or tanker trucks. But many pipes and tanks and trucks are broken, and the trucks come irregularly forcing resisdents to build their own wells. The groundwater reached by the handmade pumps is contaminated by chemcials from the disaster left at the abandoned plant.

Masi said the greatest injustice for the poor victims was the little consideration they receive from the company and the Indian government. About his photographs, Masi said “I wanted to convery emotions, to stimulate our deeper and innate feelings, our senses of justice, compassion and brotherhood, in the hope of becoming an active catalyst for the promotion of awareness, action and change for the people of Bhopal.”

Alex’s recently released book ‘Bhopal Second Disaster’ with an introduction by Indra Sinha is avilable now. You can find out more about the book here

The Bhopal Medical Appeal has copies of Alex’s book available at the discounted price of £24. If you are interested then please get in touch at [email protected]

Girl with candle Bhopal

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