During the night of 2-3 December 1984, a leak of some 40 tons of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas mixed with unknown other gasses from a chemical plant owned and operated by Union Carbide (India) Limited, a partly-owned subsidiary of the US-based Union Carbide Corporation, caused one of the highest-casualty industrial accidents of the 20th century. At least 2000 people died immediately and another 200,000 to 300,000 suffered respiratory and other injuries of varying severity. Property damage consisted mainly of contamination to nearby areas by various chemical residues. The defoliation of trees immediately
afterward is clearly attributable to the gas leak; contamination in the nearby settlements may have multiple sources, the contamination of the plant site resulted from many years of general production activity.

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