There are a number of factors which are responsible for this disaster Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:25:15
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Category: Bhopal

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1. Documents which were obtained in the course of a law suit against Union Carbide for environmental contamination before a New York Federal District Court have revealed that the Carbide that had been exported to the Indian plant was untested unproven technology. 2. The Indian subsidiary plant unlike the Union Carbide plants in the U. S. A. were not equipped to handle or cope with problems of this magnitude nor were the local authorities informed about the dangers of the chemicals that were being manufactured in Bhopal. 3.

The scientists reports which talked and warned about such a possibility as the accident which occurred were ignored outright and the senior staff never got to view them. 4. The sales were dipping and the staff was reduced due to which the safety checks were less frequent. 5. Slip-band plates which had to be installed in order to prevent the water from the pipes entering the tanks were not installed. 6. The MIC tank refrigeration coolant was being used elsewhere, but if a button was pressed in the control room it would have activated it to use the remaining coolant. This was overlooked by the staff.

7. The gas scrubber was kept on standby, so it could not be used to clean the escaping gases with sodium hydroxide which could bring the concentration down to a safe level. 8. The water curtain also was set to ~ 13m and it did not reach the gas, it was perhaps not designed to contain a leakage of such magnitude.. 9. The audible external alarm had been activated to warn the residents of Bhopal, but this was quickly switched off in order not to cause panic among the residents. So, many kept sleeping little realizing what was happening and those who woke up thought the problem was resolved.

10. The flare towers which were used to burn off gases before escaping into the air were under repairs. 11. Doctors were not updated about the proper treatment methods for MIC gas inhalation. When they inquired they were told to give the patients cough medicines and eye drops. Union Carbide denies all this. Their theory is that one of the employees introduced water into the tank by removing a meter, a disgruntled plant employee, apparently bent on spoiling a batch of methyl isocyanate, added water to a storage tank(Browning).

Their argument is that so much water could not have entered the tank by accident. They further accuse that the plant staff falsified the numerous records to distance themselves of the disaster and that the Government of India did not prosecute the employee as it would weaken the allegations against the Union Carbide, but the Union Carbide themselves have not named or identified the employee. Still others, like the many experts in industrial safety, believe that the tragedy was preventable, arguing that it was the due to ¦.

the negligence on the part of the Union Carbide Corporation and its corporate subsidiary Union Carbide of India Ltd. (UCIL), which had the responsibility for taking care of the day-to-day operations of the facility(Bogard 4). Moreover, the Indian Madhya Pradesh State Government had also not done anything for the safety standards and the Union Carbide also failed to implement its safety rules. This plant had experienced six accidents between 1981 and 1984, three of them involving MIC or phosgene, but since they were small scale ones, only one worker died in 1981, the official inquiries were shelved.

Probably the neglect of not getting trained workers at the plant and the laxity in the upkeep of the equipments was responsible for the leakage. Union Carbide agreed to pay US$470 million in an out of court agreement for the damages caused in the tragedy, but little of the money went to the survivors, and the people of Bhopal felt betrayed by both the Union Carbide and their own politicians. Thus on the anniversary of the tragedy they burnt the effigy of Warren Anderson who was the chairman of the Union Carbide at that time as well as the effigies of their own politicians.

In July 2004, The Supreme Court of India ordered the government to pay the victims and their families the remaining $330 compensation fund. Union Carbide sold its Indian subsidiary which ran the Bhopal plant to the Eveready Battery manufacturers in 1994. The Union Carbide was purchased by the Dow Chemical Company in 2001 for $10. 3 billion. Dow Chemicals have refused to clean up the toxic waste even as activists have demanded it and are pressurizing the Government of India to demand more money from Dow.

According to environmentalists the contamination may lead to slow poisoning and diseases of the liver, kidney and the nervous system. Studies have also thrown light on the fact that cancer and other illness are on the rise in this region after the tragedy. BBC Radio5 reported on 14th November 2004 that the site is still contaminated with thousands of metric tones of toxic chemicals which are held in open containers or loose on the ground. Rainfall causes run off thus polluting local wells and boreholes. Some of the areas are so polluted that anyone entering the area for more than ten minutes are likely to loose consciousness.

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