Year 12 and 13 students at Acton High School last week marked the 30th anniversary of the world’s worst industrial disaster. On the evening of December the 2nd, 1984, an accident at Union Carbide’s pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, lead to the release of an enormous poisonous gas cloud which engulfed the city. By morning an estimated 3,800 people were dead. The eventual death toll according to the Bhopal Medical Appeal, a Brighton based charity working on behalf of survivors, exceeded 25,000.
The tragedy did not stop there, as legal disputes between the owners of the factory and the Indian Government meant the site was never adequately decontaminated. Drinking water in the area has been found to contain alarmingly high levels of toxins, and a second tragedy has unfolded as the people of Bhopal grew sick, and gave birth to children with mental and physical defects.
Students at the school resolved to raise money for the Sambhavna clinic, which provides free medical care to affected Bhopalis. A combination of student and staff collections, cake sales, a football tournament and a “dress down Friday” event for 6th formers raised £652. Pictured is Colin Toogood from the Bhopal Medical Appeal, receiving a cheque from David Ibrahim, Head Boy, on behalf of the school. Mr Mothada, Head of Sixth Form, said: “I’m so proud of how our students poured their time and energy into this cause. None of us had a connection to Bhopal, in fact most students had never heard of Bhopal, but now it is a cause close to their hearts. They were determined to make a difference, not only by raising money but making sure no one forgets what has happened and is still happening.”