Published on September 24, 2014
Bhopal Gas Tragedy Fight for the justice
Overview Objective UCIL The accident Factors causing that accident The effects The aftermath Measures taken for rehabilitation Compensation provided by Union Carbide Sources Closing
Objective A study on what had caused the Bhopal disaster and what measures were taken post the disaster.
UCIL Built in 1969 Indian subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation UCIL factory was located in Bhopal Produced a pesticide named, Sevin (UCCs brand name for carbaryl using methyl isocyanate (MIC) as an intermediate.
The Accident During the night of 2-3 December 1984, water entered Tank E610 containing 42 tons of MIC. The resulting reaction was an increase of the temperature ,inside the tank, of over 200 Celsius (392 F) and which led to a raise in the pressure. About 30 metric tons of methyl isocyanate escaped from the tank into Bhopal’s atmosphere in 45-60 minutes.
Factors causing that accident Storing MIC in large tanks and filling beyond recommended levels Poor maintenance Lack of effective safety systems in place Undersized safety devices Dependence on manual operations Location of the plant next to a densely operated area Safety systems were switched off to save money- including MIC tank refrigeration which could have prevented the disaster from taking place
The effects The official immediate death toll was 2,259 and the government of Madhya Pradesh had confirmed a death toll of 3,787 people post the gas release. 2,000 bloated animal carcasses were disposed off. A government affidavit in 2006 stated that the leak caused 5,58,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial and approximately 3,900 severely and permanent disabled injuries.
The Aftermath Medical staff was unprepared for thousands of casualties Doctors and hospitals were not trained for proper treatment of MIC gas inhalation. Doctors were told to give simple cough medicine and eye drops to patients. There were mass funerals and cremations. There was mass dumping of bodies into the Narmada river. Total of 36 wards were affected, including the population of 520,000. Out of which 200,000 were below 15 years and 3,000 were pregnant women.
Measures for rehabilitation Economic Rehabilitation • Immediate relief was decided two days post tragedy • Each claimant was to be categorized by a doctor • Widow pension of Rs. 200/month Occupational Rehabilitation • 33 of 50 planned worksheds for gas victims had started • Less than 100 gas victims were provided with regular employment under the government scheme
Habitation Rehabilitation • 2,486 flats in two and four story buildings were constructed in Widow’s colony outside Bhopal • Infrastructure like buses and schools were missing for decades Health Care • Radical health groups were setup and were working since 1985. • The Government of India increased hospital-based services for the gas victims • 8 mini units (small health care centers) were started and were to provide services till 2006 • The State Government setup a lot of hospitals, mobile units and clinics right after the tragedy.
Environmental Rehabilitation • When the factory was closed in 1985-1986, all the pipes, tanks and drums were sold. Although the MIC and Sevin plants are still in there. • Tubewells in the vicinity of the plant were abandoned. • All the hazardous materials were dumped around the plant. • There was scheme setup to provide safe water supply to people living around the plant • In December 2008 Madhya Pradesh High Court decided to incinerate all the toxic waste next to Ankleshwar, Gujarat.
Compensation provided by Union Carbide Government of India passed the Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster Act, which allowed them to represent victims outside India. UCC offered US $ 350 million as an insurance sum. The Government of India claimed US $3.3 billion. In 1989, a settlement was reached where UCC agreed to pay US $470 million in a full and final settlement of its civil and criminal liability.
Sources Wikipedia.org NDTV Times of India
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