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|December 10, 2009|
Warren Anderson, CEO of Union Carbide, received the 1982 safety audit of the Bhopal plant which identified 30 major hazards. He used the report to fix some of the problems in the company's twin plant in the U.S. but he chose to do nothing for the Bhopal plant.
On the night of the disaster, December 3, 1984, six safety measures designed to prevent a gas leak either malfunctioned, were turned off or were otherwise inadequate. In addition, the safety siren, intended to alert the community should an incident occur at the plant, was turned off.
After the disaster Indian police arrested Warren Anderson but he jumped bail and was flown by private jet back to the US.
With Anderson in flight from the law, his company abandoned the polluted factory site and refused to disclose the composition of the poisonous gas (the company still claims this is a trade secret), thus hampering medical treatment for the 120,000 people who are still sick. Survivors received between US$300-500 compensation each.
Dow Chemical took over Union Carbide in 2001, and it claims Union Carbide has "settled" the issue of Bhopal. But, twenty five years on, toxic chemicals continue to contaminate the water of Bhopal. Survivors are still demanding a cleanup of the site.
Anderson is wanted in India to face charges of culpable homicide over the deaths of 20,000 people. The Indian Government formally filed an extradition request with the US, but for the last 18 years India, reluctant to damage US trade relations, has not pursued the extradition of Warren Anderson. US authorities claimed they could not find Anderson but last year he was found. Warren Anderson lives in a luxury home in Bridgehampton, Long Island, New York. His yearly golf club membership is four times the average compensation for a Bhopal survivor.