Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL)• UCIL was a chemical company in Bhopal which was established in 1934.• UCIL was owned 51% by Union Carbide Corporation and 41% by Indian investors including the Indian government.• In 1984, the annual sale was about $200 million.• At the time of accident, it employed 9,000 people at 14 plants in 5 divisions.• It produced products including Batteries, Carbon products, Welding equipments, plastics, industrial chemicals, pesticides and marine products.
THE “DISASTER”• In December 2nd - 3rd, 1984 a UCIL plant began leaking 27 tons of methyl isocynate.• The gas leak was considered one of the world’s worst industrial catastrophes.• The leak resulted in the exposure of hundreds of thousands of people. The official immediate death toll was 2,259 and the government of Madhya Pradesh confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. Others estimate 3,000 died within weeks and another 8,000 have since died from gas-related diseases. A government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries. As many as 25,000 deaths have been attributed to the disaster in recent
Contributing Factors to the “DISASTER”• Storing MIC in large tanks and filling beyond recommended levels• Maintenance of facilities ignored• Safety systems shut off to save $• Plant located near densely populated area• Lack of skilled operators• Inadequate emergency action plan• Failure to recognise previous plant issues• Use of a more dangerous pesticide manufacturing method for decreasing generation cost• Reduction of safety management• Insufficient maintenance – A pipe leaked? Dont replace it – MIC workers needed more training? They could do with less – The MIC tank alarms had not worked for four years• The flare tower and the vent gas scrubber had been out of service for five months before the disaster• To reduce energy costs, the refrigeration system was idle• The MIC was kept at 20 degrees Celsius, not the 4.5 degrees advised by the manual• The steam boiler, intended to clean the pipes, was out of action for unknown reasons• Carbon steel valves were used at the factory, even though they corrode when exposed to acid.• According to the operators, the MIC tank pressure gauge had been malfunctioning for roughly a week.
After the Leakage• Local medical staff was unprepared to deal with such issues.• They didn’t knew how to deal with chemicals.• Families of those who died, were slow to receive minimal compensation or never did.• Those who were injured received no or limited medical care.• The gases immediately caused visible damage to the trees. Within a few days, all the leaves fell off.• 2,000 bloated animal carcasses had to be disposed of.• Complaints of a lack of information or misinformation were widespread. The Bhopal plant medical doctor did not have proper information about the properties of the gases. An Indian Government spokesman said that "Carbide is more interested in getting information from us than in helping our relief work."• Formal statements were issued that air, water, vegetation and foodstuffs were safe within the city. At the same time, people were informed that poultry was unaffected, but were warned not to consume fish
The “MAIN PROBLEM”• Thousands of victims had/have not received medical care, information, or compensation due to fighting among UCC management and Indian Government over the cause of the accident and who was at fault.• Furthermore, the environment surrounding Bhopal has continued contaminated issues.
HEALTH EFFECTS• A total of 36 wards were marked by the authorities as being "gas affected", affecting a population of 520,000. Of these, 200,000 were below 15 years of age, and 3,000 were pregnant women. In 1991, 3,928 deaths had been certified. Independent organizations recorded 8,000 dead in the first days. Other estimations vary between 10,000 and 30,000. Another 100,000 to 200,000 people are estimated to have permanent injuries of different degrees.• The acute symptoms were burning in the respiratory tract and eyes, blepharospasm, breathlessness, stomach pains and vomiting.• The causes of deaths were choking, reflexogenic circulatory collapse and pulmonary oedema. Findings during autopsies revealed changes not only in the lungs but also cerebral oedema, tubular necrosis of the kidneys, fatty degeneration of the liver and necrotising enteritis. The stillbirth rate increased by up to 300%
SUPPORT Of Indian Government To The Culprits• Indian government closed plant to outsiders and failed in making the data public• The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) were forbidden to publish their data on health effects until after 1994.• The Indian Government and UCC deny permanent injuries were caused by MIC.• UCIL paid a token of $470 million even though asked a total compensation of $3.3 billion. But the government said nothing.• The government sent safely Mr. Anders on the CEO of UCIL at the time of massacre, to US.• Civil and criminal cases are still pending in United States District Court, Manhattan and the District Court of Bhopal, India, involving UCC, UCIL
SOLUTIONS• Don’t place BLAME• Create task force• Reach out to international community• Hire PR firm• Let ethics guide all the decisions
CONCLUSIONS• The Bhopal Disaster has gone down in history as one of the world’s worst Industrial accident to ever occur. Thousands of people lost their lives, countless others injured, and the environment contaminated due numerous bad decisions among those who owned the plant.• There are several other Industries till now working only for their profit, leaving the safety of people in it and around it in waters.• The government should take necessary steps to control these industries so that no other disaster occurs.
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