|Type of paper:||Report|
|Categories:||Human resources Security|
The chemical plant industry has existed for ages. However, the history of the heavy chemical industry is traceable to the beginning of the industrial revolution. In 1736, under the leadership of Joshua Ward, sulfuric acid was produced in large amounts. The production process involved heating saltpeter and allowing the sulfur to oxidize and later combine with water. Due to the success of the production, the first significant industry dealing with the production of the chemical plant was opened by Samuel Garbett and John Roebuck in 1749. The large-scale factory was based in Prestonpans. The sector has revolutionized and this lead to the growth of the industry. Numerous factories were later opened in different parts of the world. Chemical plant industry is a volatile sector that requires adequate preparation to deal with the catastrophic emergencies associated with the production process. Over the years, factories that deal with the production of a large number of chemicals have faced disasters that led to the loss of property and lives. This paper will focus on the Bhopal disaster.
The Bhopal disaster is considered among the worst industrial tragedy in history. According to government records, the accident led to the death of about 25,000 people, but 2,000 individuals died on the spot (Broughton, 2005). The incident occurred at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in the town of Bhopal. The disaster was caused by the leakage of a highly toxic chemical called methyl isocyanate into the air (Mishra et al., 2009). The chemical plant was operated by Union Carbide Corporation, a multinational company with its headquarters in the United States of America. Furthermore, the plant was located in a densely populated area (Taylor, 2018). During the time of the disaster, the Bhopal area had an estimated population of one million people. About 600,000 individuals were injured during the accident.
The disaster was caused by a series of both human and mechanical errors that occurred in the company during the production of pesticides. The company's personnel and the installed safety equipment failed to detect the massive leak of the gas into the air (Taylor, 2018). When the alarm went off signaling the leak, the harm had already been done in the region.
Here is the chronology of the events that led to the Bhopal disaster that led to the closure of the Bhopal plant in India (Broughton, 2005):
- The Union Carbide built the factory in Bhopal in the 1970s. The area was suitable for the production of pesticides. However, the local farmers were not able to afford the production and this lead to the stop of active output in the early 1980s.
- On December 2nd, 1984, the leaking of methyl isocyanate commenced. This leads to the release of 27 tons of poisonous gas into the air.
- On December 3rd, 1984, toxic methyl isocyanate gas escaped from the Union Carbide India Ltd. The gas from the pesticide plant managed to envelop the surrounding densely populated area and instantly killed an estimated 3,500 people.
- On December 4th, 1984, the chairman of the Union Carbide Limited, is arrested together with other nine people. However, he is later released after paying a cash bail of $2,000.
- In February 1985, the Indian government filed a claim for $3.3 billion from the Union Carbide Limited in a United States court.
- In 1989, the Indian government and Union Carbide Limited struck an out-of-court deal, and both parties agree to a $470 million in compensation to the victims.
- In 2002, the private research found components of lead and mercury in the milk of nursing mothers in the communities near the region. Protests to clean up the former Union Carbide Limited are initiated in the area.
According to independent research by Amnesty International and a joint study by CSE and the Central Pollution Control Board in 2009, it was established that the abandoned building where the company used to house the plant continues to leak toxic gases to the environment. The released chemicals have adversely contaminated the region's water and soil (Mishra et al., 2009). The contamination continues to effects the locals leading to diseases.
Although the leakage was both a mechanical and human error, I believe with proper mechanisms the effects of the disaster could have been prevented. The gas from the factory was known to be toxic. Hence I could have ensured the safety of the locals and the employees by providing a guideline that continually monitors and prevents the leakage of gas in the area (Broughton, 2005). According to reports from the incident, the toxic gas leaked for four hours without being detected. This event could have been avoided if the company never relied on the leakage detector alone. The program could have allowed for detection to prevent the catastrophe. Additionally, the company could have used automated detectors to avoid the disaster. As a way of ensuring corporate social responsibility, it was the duty of the company to ensure that local health facilities are equipped with the first aid knowledge of treating patients in case of leakages (Mishra et al., 2009). The high number of deaths and other problems health issues associated with the leakages of toxic gas could have been prevented if the local healthcare facilities were equipped with the required first aid instrument.
Broughton, E. (2005). The Bhopal disaster and its aftermath: a review. Environmental Health, 4(1), 6.
Mishra, P., Samarth, R., Pathak, N., Jain, S., Banerjee, S., & Maudar, K. (2009). Bhopal gas tragedy: a review of clinical and experimental findings after 25 years. International journal of occupational medicine and environmental health, 22(3), 193-202.
Taylor, A. (2018). Bhopal: The World's Worst Industrial Disaster, 30 Years Later. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2014/12/bhopal-the-worlds-worst-industrial-disaster-30-years-later/100864/
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