BOPHAL – UNION CARBIDE TRAGEDY

 

Part 1. Give a brief summary of the case

India suffered periodic droughts that resulted to extreme scarcity of food supply. Research was done and resulted to the introduction of drought resistant wheat variety from Mexico to adapt India’s condition. However this variety requires higher application of fertilizer and had higher pesticide requirement.  Pesticide plant was opened to sustain the large population requirement for food supply. Setting up of power plant provides employment opportunities to the local that has attracted locals’ immigration closer to the area.

28 years ago the world’s worst catastrophe happened that killed an approximate of 8000 people immediately and animals from the exposure of toxic gas from Union Carbide which still kills until today and left those who survive with different long term disabilities of 150 000 such as lower limb atrophy, loss of vision and birth defects among the children of those women who were expose to the gas. In total there are about a half a million who was affected in some ways. Around midnight on December 2 1984 an accident at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India the storage tank number E610, which contain 40 tons of poisonous methyl isocyanate (MIC), was contaminated with water causing an exothermal reaction that release a poisonous gas large enough to open the safety gas valve and spreading a vast amount of toxic cloud to the area of more than 30 square miles.

The toxic such as hexachlorobenzene and mercury are still at the location with thousands of tons of toxic. During rainfall the pollution was rinse off the sources of drinking water.

Now Dow Chemical Company took control Union Carbide in 2001 and was now a battery producer facility.

Part 2. Give your recommendations if we could turn the clock back.

Safety should be to the priority of Union Carbide and all of the industries who deals with similar products. Illustration below was withdrawn from the research after the disaster and negligence of factory personnel was found out.

The valve should have been properly installed to prevent water from entering the storage tank. Ensuring that the facilities are properly working such as cooling installation of the tanks, the flaring installation that could have flare the gas, vent gas scrubbers could have detoxified the leaking gas and the shower curtain should be high enough to reach the gas.

Physicians, nurses, paramedics and other medical practitioners should have been properly informed of the nature of the chemical they produce and the by products and in the case of untoward accident medical practitioners are prepared with the proper prophylaxis and medications for the chemical exposure.

Awareness and safety drills such as the first aid should have been practice in the community in case of the unexpected event. This precautionary drills will prepare the community incase of any untoward event and will not cause panic and commotion.

Part 3: Moving to the present, if you were a Board Member of the Union Carbide today, using any of the following: Political, Actor/Actress Based HEI, Cultural Ecology and Systems Approach, would you pursue the same industry or product or not? Why?

If I were a Board Member of the Union Carbide today I would not pursue the same industry, as its both the products and the by products is not friendly for the environment. We have already seen the world’s catastrophic effect of what had happened at the Union Carbide and it was no good. However, I will promote organic farming.

Instead, I would rather invest in research and develop organic fertilizers than continuing the production of the inorganic pesticide and fertilizers, which are toxic, carcinogenic to human, and causes water pollution.

Using the social media and blogging though the Internet I can promote sustainable, organic and alternative ways of producing food. Alternatives would be organic farming, hydroponics uses mineral nutrient solution in water or also known as window farming in a small scale which was position next to the window for solar supply, and vermiculture; using worms to convert bridgeable into compost, to new a few. Social media has now a great impact on our lives that we can on time communication across the globe, for example I will post how I became healthy from my organic backyard garden. I will promote directly in the community the good benefits of organic food and organic farming. Furthermore, I will compare the benefits and the harmful effects of organic and the inorganic farming respectively.

With the support and assistance of the government we can promote this organic farming in small-scale families in their backyards or even at their windows.

Sources:

Nair, M. 2005. Bhopal Gas Tragedy – A Social, Economic, Legal and Environmental Analysis. Texas A&M University at College Station. From Munich Personal RePEc Archive.

Dhara Ramana, V. The Union Carbide Disaster in Bhopal: A Review of Health Effects

Stringer, R. Labunska, I. Brigden, K. & Santillo, D. 2002. Chemical Stockpiles at Union Carbide India Limited in Bhopal: an investigation. Greenpeace Research Laboratories.

http://www.unioncarbide.com/history

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermicompost

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroponics

http://www.livestrong.com/article/119955-harmful-effects-fertilizers/

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1986457_1986501_1986445,00.html #ixzz2NlVKB3tV

http://www.lenntech.com/environmental-disasters.htm#ixzz2NlbdZFy4

http://www.lenntech.com/environmental-disasters.htm#ixzz2NliWzIab

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