Eighteen years ago on December 3, 1984, the toxic gas methyl isocynate began leaking from a U.S. owned pesticide plant in the Indian city of Bhopal. Within hours 4,000 people were dead. Another 10,000 to 15,000 people would eventually die from related illnesses. Over 100,000 more were seriously injured. It was the world’s worst industrial accident.
To date no one from the U.S.-based Union Carbide corporation has ever served time for the disaster. Eleven years ago “culpable homicide” charges were brought against Union Carbide’s former CEO Warren Anderson. But Anderson has refused to be tried. However, momentum is growing to extradite Anderson, who could face up to 10 years in prison.
In late August a Bhopal court rejected a plea by federal police to reduce charges against Anderson to rash negligence from culpable homicide. Soon after, a member of Greenpeace tracked Anderson down at his luxury home on Main Street in Bridgehampton in Long Island. Until that time, U.S. officials claimed to not know of Anderson’s whereabouts. Over this past weekend environmentalist Diane Wilson led a protest in front of Anderson’s home. And on Friday, members of the Campaign for Justice in Bhopal staged a hunger strike outside of the United Nations where Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and US President George Bush were meeting.
Today we are joined by Diane Wilson. Diane is a fisherwoman turned environmentalist, who has been fighting to save the waters of San Antonio Bay from toxic discharge by chemical companies, including Union Carbide-Dow Chemical. In August, she chained herself to an ethylene oxide tower inside the Union Carbide plant (now owned by Dow Chemical) in Seadrift, TX. She was arrested after eight hours.
- Diane Wilson, Fisherman and Activist.