Atal Ayub Nagar Colony
It's a poor neighborhood like so many others in India. A street that nothing really distinguishes from other such alignments of small houses and yet .... Atal Ayub Nagar Colony where some 2,000 people live is a small urban outgrowth, leaning against the wall of the Union Carbide factory which caused the chemical disaster of 1984. On one hand, the remains of a wasteland still dangerous, laden with barrels of toxic products, on the other, the area where a primitive sanitation lake spreads - initially two simple tarred sheets (now torn up) covering the bottom of a depression - the place where hazardous waste were dumped when the plant was functioning.
In between the two a neighborhood has grown. It's a time bomb. Polluted by Sevin, the pesticide manufactured by the Bhopal plant, the soils are also saturated with other chemicals of known dangerousness. For years, the inhabitants of Atal Ayub Nagar Colony had no other option than to pump up toxic water. Today, they are connected to a nearby river but years of life in this highly polluted territory have silently damaged the bodies. One knows it but one lives with it. And sometimes, one acts as if nothing had happened. Because one has to continue to live here because one can not afford to protect oneself from the risks by just going to live in another part of town. One acts as if it was a past history.
The wall supports the houses, it also hides what one does not want to see anymore. The bodies and their ills whisper what is rarely talk out loud. 35 years after the disaster, Bhopal continues to suffer its effects. Atal Ayub Nagar Colony is still on the front line.