1. INTRODUCTION2. HOW THE ACCIDENT HAPPENDED3. FACTORS CONTRIBUTED TO THE
ACCIDENT4. WHAT MAKE IT WORSE5. LAW & ETHICS6. LESSON LEARNT
Industrialization era – to attract and retain FDI; developing countries are willing to lower their environment & working standards.
Developed countries take advantage – build & operate plant not followed strict laws & regulations as in their native land- vulnerable to industrial crisis.
India – invite UCC to open plant to produce pesticide in line with effort to reduce losses of crops due to pests – to increase production of food
Loose regulations – plants was built at a central location and transport infrastructure
Lack of awareness from community
Indian subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC)
UCC an U. S Company established in 1886
Gas and chemical company
In 1994- UCC sold UCIL to Eveready Industries India Limited
2001 – sold to Dow Chemical Company
HOW THE ACCIDENT HAPPENDED
It was before Green Revolution where India was faced with periodic droughts which resulted in famine
Through ongoing research, they found drought resistant varieties of wheat that had bigger inflorescence, were
resistant to rain and wind.
1969 – UCC (invited by Indian Government) opened pesticide plant
The varieties of wheat required higher fertilizer application and had higher pesticide requirement.
Indian Government began approving pesticide factories all over India to meet the requirement
HOW THE ACCIDENT HAPPENDED
The plant produced pesticide carbaryl (need MIC as intermediates)
MIC is highly combustible and was kept under a blanket of nitrogen in
two storage tanks in the plant
The accident caused 8,000 people died immediately; > to date, 20,000 people died, >150,000 are chronically ill
On the night of December 2nd, 1984, due to malfunctioning of the valve, had caused water into the storage tanks, reacted with nitrogen and thus the blanket gone, MIC
leaked out in early morning of 3rd December 1984
The gas leaked over the city, carried by the wind. The wind carried the cloud to a vast area of almost 40 sq km.
From BBC News:-"We were choking and our eyes were burning. We could barely see the road
through the fog, and sirens were blaring. We didn't know which way to run.
Everybody was very confused. Mothers didn't know their children had died,
children didn't know their mothers had died and men didn't know their whole
families had died.“ Ahmed Khan, Bhopal resident
FACTORS CONTRIBUTED TO THE ACCIDENT
The Bhopal plant had been losing money
for several years due to the weak demand
in India for pesticides
Lead to major budget cuts in
the Bhopal plant
This resulted in major personnel
reductions, particularly in regard
to production and maintenance
At the same time, experienced workers
left and were replaced by less
Important safety devices were out of
commission and staff with no MIC training were in supervisory
WHAT MAKE IT WORSE?
Third World Country Prejudism; Indian caste system - majority of people
belong to the group of lower castes and untouchables;
The plant located among densely populated areas;
The concurrent establishment of slum/colonies around the plant were never recognized by either UCIL or Indian Government;
Lack of safety standard and maintenance procedures in Bhopal plant;
WHAT MAKE IT WORSE?
Medical practitioners was unprepared for thousands of casualties and were not informed with proper treatment method for MIC gas inhalation;
UCC expert denied that MIC gas was dangerous. They claim that the leaked gas would not have any long term health effects;
Lack of community information and emergency procedures to deal with potential large scale disasters.
LAW & ETHIC NO. LAW ETHIC1. No violation of laws
specifically e.g:Not providing information on chemicals used in a facility - claimed Trade Secrecy Protection
Third country prejudism –1. well taken care facility in US but hazardous facility in India, 2. low settlement far beyond under US laws
2. No tangible law or regulations for storing capacity of MIC in India
Workers are expendables – information on hazardous material not revealed
3. Damage pay according to US law would bankrupt the company – pay only USD470 Million; half is covered by insurance
Save cost on area they should spend more :1. Safety training – cut to save cost2. Staff competency- high turnover3. facility and equipment safety –
alarm and fail safe devices not working
4. Forging medical diagnosis with bias medical expert
5. No sense of responsibility in terms of finding the cure to neutralize the toxin of those infected, no law obligation.
Not following procedure is a common catalyst for man-made accidents and a reason for ineffective response to many natural and intentional disasters;
Every decision made has their own consequences:
The legal system does not always work to protect victims;
The importance of having strict rules and enforcement;