Bhopal Disaster

Published: 2019-05-10 07:24:35
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Impacts of the Disaster

Environmentally, the Bhopal Disaster led to pollution of the plant site. Because the decontamination of the area around the disaster was not carried out properly, the area around the plant is still heavily polluted especially the water and the ground. For example, the ground and the water around the plant are poisoned with mercury. Mercury levels range between 20,000 to 6 million times than the acceptable levels of mercury in the ground [1] With this amount of mercury among other toxic substances such as dichloromethane, trichlorobenzene and chloroform in the ground, the site will be unusable and unsafe for decades if not hundreds of years to come.

Socially, the disaster led to thousands of deaths and continued to kill lots of people to date. The gas that leaked had chemicals associated with brain damage, cancer causing and birth defects. Trichloroethene, one of the chemicals in the leakage impairs fetal development, and nursing women had breast milk as recently as 2002 [2]. The decontamination of the vicinity means that the immediate surrounding society will continue to experience health problems for years to come and may transfer the ailments to future generations. Moreover, with families losing many members of their families to the disaster, a lot of the families may never gain stability. 

A picture of a boy born with both mental and physical disability as a result of the disaster

The disaster had far reaching ramifications on many stakeholders. To start with, the death of breadwinners in the surrounding slum settlement means that many families continue to struggle in poverty. With the death of working fathers and mothers, already poor households were subjected to long-term poverty. Secondly, the land on which the disaster took place, as well as the surrounding areas, may not be economic usable for hundreds of years to come. The water and the ground around the plant are heavily toxic, and hence, the land will remain derelict for years to come.  

This picture shows the high number of death victims in the first days of the disaster

 

Globally, this disaster raised skepticism in the relationship between developing nations and multinational corporations. One thing that emerged is that many foreign firms do not invest in maintenance equipment and procedures on their foreign based manufacturing plants as they should. For example, the plant had ceased production in the early 1980s but did not dispose of the vast quantities of toxic chemicals that were in the plant at the time of the disaster. Such kind of attitude towards maintenance creates skepticism in global investment between the developing world and investment companies from the industrialized world. 

A picture showing the devastation caused by poor maintenance of dangerous plant

 

Summary

a)The disaster was caused by poor maintenance by the manufacturing company, Union Carbide.

b)By the time of the accident, the plant had ceased operations for several years

c)Death, blindness and other long-term health defects were caused by hydrogen cyanide, mono-methylamine and methyl isocyanate among other chemicals

d)The high level of mercury in the ground makes the area highly poisonous and may not be used for economic use for decade or hundreds of years

e)Nursing mothers are still passing dangerous mercury to babies through breast milk

f)Bhopal is home to over 900,000people, most of who live in poverty in the slums

g)Some families lost their entire members

h)The accident strained relations between India and foreign investors as it demonstrated that the management of many of the multinational corporations would pursue profits, sometimes neglecting proper maintenance procedures in the process

References

Allen Taylor, “Bhopal: The World's Worst Industrial Disaster, 30 Years Later.” The Atlantic, p. 1, Dec. 2, 2014. 

BBC, “1984: Hundreds Die in Bhopal Chemical Accident.” BBC, p. 1, Dec. 3, 2005. 

 

 

 

 

sheldon

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