C A S E S T U D Y
B H O P A L G A S
T R A G E D Y
• Bhopal Disaster took place in the early morning of December 3, 1984. It was
due to the release of 27 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas from Union
Carbide India, Limited pesticide plant which is owned by Union Carbide.
• The death toll in Bhopal Disaster reached a great height and till date many still
suffers from illness caused due to the disaster.
The majority of deaths and serious injuries were due to pulmonary edema.
Signs and symptoms of such exposure normally include cough, chest pain,
lacrimation, eyelid edema, and unconsciousness. These over the next 24 to 72
hours may cause acute lung injury, cardiac arrest, and death.
Facts leading to the Bhopal Disaster was never exposed by the company, but
blood and viscera of some victims claims cherry-red color characteristic of
acute cyanide poisoning. Bhopal Disaster is still witnessing many of the
survivors suffering from partial or complete blindness, persistent respiratory
disorders, gastrointestinal problems, impaired immune systems, post-traumatic
stress. An increase in spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and offspring with
genetic disorders are also predominant.
The chemical accident in Bhopal Gas Tragedy was caused by the entry of water
into methyl isocyanide holding tank. The resulting reaction gave rise to a major
increase in the temperature of liquid within the tank (to over 200°C). This then
produced a large volume of toxic gas, making the emergency release of pressure.
Bhopal Disaster is one of the worst happenings that the history has ever
witnessed. Those who could survive the immediate death have become the prey
to long lingering effects which is even more intolerable. The incident should be a
lesson to the humanity.
CAUSES OF THIS TRAGEDY
• On December 3rd, 1984, thousands of people in Bhopal, India, were gassed to
death after a catastrophic chemical leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant.
More than 150,000 people were left severely disabled of whom 22,000 or more
have since died of their injuries - in a disaster now widely acknowledged as the
world’s worst-ever industrial disasterMore than 27 tons of methylisocyanate &
other deadly gases turned Bhopal into a gas chamber.
• None of the six safety systems at the plant were functional, and Union Carbide’s
own documents prove the company designed the plant with “unproven” and
“untested” technology, and cut corners on safety and maintenance in order to
save money.Carbide is still killing in Bhopal. The chemicals that Carbide
abandoned in and around their Bhopal factory have contaminated the drinking
water of 20,000 people. Testing published in a 2002 report revealed poisons
such as 1,3,5 trichlorobenzene, dichloromethane, chloroform, lead and mercury
in the breast milk of nursing women living near the factory.
• Death came out of a clear sky. Midnight, a cold wind blowing, the stars brilliant
as they are in central India, even through the thin pall of cooking-fire
smoke that hung above the city. Here and there, braziers were burning to
warm those who were obliged to be out late. From the factory which so
many had learned to fear, a thin plume of white vapor began streaming from
a high structure. Caught by the wind, it became a haze and blew downward
to mix with smokes coming from somewhere nearer to the ground. A dense
fog formed. Nudged by the wind, it rolled across the road and into the alleys
on the other side. Here the houses were packed close, ill-built, with badly-
fitting doors and windows. Those within were roused in darkness to the
sound of screams with the gases already in their eyes, noses and throats. It
burned terribly, it felt like fire. In those apocalyptic moments no one knew
what was happening. People simply started dying in the most hideous ways.
Some vomited uncontrollably, went into convulsions and fell dead. Others
choked to death, drowning in their own body fluids. Many were crushed in
the stampedes through narrow gullies where street lamps burned a dim
brown through clouds of gas. When dawn broke over the city, thousands of
bodies lay in heaps in the streets.
EFFECT ON HUMAN HEALTH :-
Respiratory Disorder:- Irritation to lungs, causing cough,
even causing asthma problems. Higher exposures
caused build up of fluids causing pulmonary enema.
Cancer Hazards:- Caused Mutation (genetic changes)
which caused cancer.
Reproductive hazards:-Association between exposures
to Methlyisocynate & miscarriages .It may damage the
growing fetus & fertility in men & women .
After Effect :- Traces of many toxic were found in breast
milk & were in turn transmitted to recipients i.e.
Estimates vary on the death toll. The official
immediate death toll was 2,259. The
government of Madhya Pradesh confirmed a
total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release.
C a t a s t r o p h i c
f a i l u r e s i n p r o c e s s
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