Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology
Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.
Compiled by Ulli Diemer
December 3, 1984
The Bhopal disaster. A gas leak occurs early in the morning at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. A gas cloud consisting of a mixture of toxic chemicals makes its way to the shantytowns located near the plant; more than half a million people are exposed to toxic gases. Estimates of the death toll vary; at least 2,259 die immediately; some 8,000 die within two weeks, and an estimated 8,000 more die from their injuries later. An Indian government report says that 558,125 people suffered injuries, including thousands of severe permanent injuries. Chemicals abandoned at the plant continue to leak into the groundwater up to the present day. The company uses prolonged court action to avoid responsibility. In 2010, 26 years later, seven company managers are convicted of negligence, serve a few days in jail before being released, and are made to pay a fine of about $2,000 each.