Bhopal Gas Tragedy Essay

1749 words - 7 pages

Disasters happen when multinational corporations though having enormous resources tend to look the other side when most of the people are uneducated and their governments do not care for them and their safety and laws are usually bent if not broken by the corporations for their benefit.On the night at around 1 a.m. on Monday, December 3, 1984, when most of the people were at home sleeping, a deadly toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked out from the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) plant in Bhopal, India. Senior factory officials who already knew about the lethal build-up in the tank before the leakage did not raise the alarm to warn the neighborhood until one hour after the leakage ...view middle of the document...

Many studies made after the tragedy still show that the survivors are suffering from physical disorders like blindness, gastrointestinal disorders, impaired immune system, traumatic stress, and menstrual problems in women. Also there is a rise of abortion, still birth, and offspring with genetic defects. Current unofficial estimates suggest that at least 120,000 survivors suffer from one or more of these problems.Many investigations and studies were conducted after the incident to identify the cause of this accident, which includes Union carbide India limited, Engineering consulting firm Arthur D. Little, and Indian Government led by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Madhya Pradesh state Government. Almost every investigation reached the same conclusion that the gas leak could have been caused by deliberate sabotage though there are many facts which do not corroborate this conclusion. They concluded that large quantity of water entered the storage tank containing 40 cubic meters of MIC and when the water and MIC mixed, it caused a massive chemical reaction resulting in tremendous increase in temperature and pressure in the tank and due to this reaction and pressure the safely valve of the tank burst and 20 to 30 tons of MIC gas leaked out of the plant and spread over the atmosphere forming a poisonous gas fog killing many people. Union Carbide says that the tragedy took place when a plant employee, apparently bent on spoiling a batch of MIC, added water to a storage tank though this was never independently proved. The experts in industrial safety believe that the accident might have been avoided if proper safety equipments and trained workers had been used in the chemical industry. The Bhopal plant experienced six accidents prior to this accident from 1981 to 1984, but the accidents were small to have been noticed by the people in general. In 1981 one worker was also killed but no further action was taken to avoid the disaster which was brewing in the future.After waiting for months for the justice to be done the people of Bhopal started pressurizing the Indian government. In response to that the Indian government filed a compensation lawsuit against Union Carbide Corporation for $3 billion. And on the other hand, Union Carbide blamed the Indian Government for the accident and on December 1986 the Union Carbide corp., filed a countersuit against the Indian Government saying that Indian Government is equally responsible for the accident because they already knew about the toxicity of MIC but have not taken any steps to prevent the accident. In May 1989, Union Carbide and Union Carbide India limited entered into a $470 million legal settlement with the Indian government. The decision of settlement of $470 million was made and described the amount as reasonable for the victims and tried to settle all claims. Ten days after the decision was made, Union Carbide and Union Carbide India limited paid $470 million to Indian Government and the whole...

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