Alex Masi

Alex Masi

The worst industrial disaster of all time took place in 1984, when toxic gas leaked from a pesticide plant of the American Union Carbide Corporation in the city of Bhopal in India. Half a million people were exposed to the gas, and, depending on the estimate, between 3,000 and 20,000 people died as a consequence. When the disaster happened, the equipment at the plant was very poorly maintained and safety measures were neglected.

From 2009 to 2011, the Italian photographer Alex Masi captured the situation in Bhopal, where families still live in the shadow of the disaster. Union Carbide (currently Dow Chemical) buried toxic waste in the region, resulting in a contamination of local groundwater reserves. The contaminated water is a threat to 30,000 people in the area. The effects of the toxic substances can be seen in the children of those exposed, many of whom suffer from serious injuries and neurological problems. Alex Masi has documented the extensive effects of the disaster that took place thirty years ago, which, even today – and in the future – can be felt in the environment and people in the region.

The American Dow Chemical acquired Union Carbide in 2001 for a whopping 11.6 billion dollars. The company has refused to take responsibility for the situation in Bhopal.

  • Faizan, 14, is sitting in his home in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, located dangerously near the abandoned Union Carbide (now DOW Chemical) industrial complex. Faizan has recently deceased. Copyright: Alex Masi.