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Industrial and Chemical Disaster Management Issues and Challenges by P.G. Dhar Chakrabarti Executive Director National Institute of Disaster Management 25-4-2006


Disaster “Disaster is an event of natural or manmade causes that leads to sudden disruption of normalcy within society, causing damage to life and property to such an extent that is beyond the capacity of normal social and economic mechanism to cope up with.” Disaster Management Act 2005

Industrial disaster: 

Industrial disaster “Industrial disasters are caused by chemical, chemical, mechanical, civil, electrical, or other process failures due to accident, negligence or incompetence, in an industrial plant which may spill over to the areas outside the plant causing damage to life and property.”


“Chemical disasters are occurrence of emission, fire or explosion involving one or more hazardous chemicals in the course of industrial activity or storage or transportation or due to natural events leading to serious effects inside or outside the installation likely to cause loss of life and property including adverse effects on the environment.” Chemical disaster

Major industrial disasters that shaped public policy: 

Major industrial disasters that shaped public policy Triangle Factory Fire New York (USA) 1911 100 garment workers died in fire Minamata Mercury Disaster (Japan) 1932-68 3,000 people suffered, severe mercury poisoning symptoms, deformities or death Seveso Dioxin Disaster (Italy) 1976 3,000 animals died, 70,000 slaughtered to prevent dioxins entering food chain Bhopal Gas Disaster (India) 1984 15,000 killed, over 500,000 affected

Bhopal Gas Tragedy : 

Bhopal Gas Tragedy Worst industrial disaster in history 2,000 people died on immediate aftermath Another 13,000 died in next fifteen years 10-15 persons dying every month 520,000 diagnosed chemicals in blood causing different health complications 120,000 people still suffering from Cancer Tuberculosis Partial or complete blindness, Post traumatic stress disorders, Menstrual irregularities Rise in spontaneous abortion and stillbirth

Second generation effect: 

Second generation effect ICMR, IMA, AMA studies show Children born with genetic defects Growth retardation in boys Hormonal chaos among girls Ground water contamination with high level of mercury, lead, nickel, VOCs and HCH High prevalence of skin and gastro-intestinal diseases Bioaccumulation of toxins found in vegetables and breast milk

How it happened: 

How it happened December 3-4, 1984: 40 tonnes of methyl iso-cyanate (MIC) released from Union Carbide plant at Bhopal Accidental release caused by leakage of water into MIC storage tank None of the six safety systems worked Safety standards and maintenance system ignored for months Complete absence of community information and emergency procedures Public alarm system operated after the gas had leaked for nearly four hours

Evolution of legal regime: 

Evolution of legal regime Pre-Bhopal phase: Factories Act, 1948 and Rules made there under Explosives Act, 1884 Static & Mobile Pressure Vessels Rules, 1981 Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 Focused on on-site safety of workers No legal system to regulate Off-site emergency system Safe storage of hazardous materials Safe transportation of hazardous materials

Post-Bhopal legal regime: 

Post-Bhopal legal regime Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules, 1996 Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 Amendments to pre-Bhopal legislations including Factory Safety Act and Motor Vehicles Act

Status of implementation: 

Status of implementation 1723 Major Accident Hazard units located in 273 districts in 22 States On-site emergency plans prepared in 1569 plants Off-site plans prepared in 137 districts, Out of which only 26 district plans prepared on basis of hazard analysis of industrial pockets No data available for other Accident Hazard Units Inadequate system of accident reporting Major accidents averted, but medium and minor accidents continue to occur

Post Bhopal disasters: 

Post Bhopal disasters Major disasters like Bhopal averted Minor industrial and chemical disasters are regular phenomenon Post Bhopal more than 40,000 industrial workers and civilians have lost lives due to accidents in manufacturing processes, storage and transportation of hazardous materials Environmental issues – water and air pollution Occupational health and issues

Initiatives of MoE&F: 

Initiatives of MoE&F Constitution of Central, State and District Crisis Groups on Chemical Disasters Setting up of a Crisis Control Room Publication of Red Book Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Studies of Transportation of Hazard Chemicals in important industrial corridors GIS-based Emergency Planning & Response System for major industrial estates Industrial Pocket-wise Hazard Analysis studies

Initiatives of NSC: 

Initiatives of NSC Providing consultancy and training services to industries in preparation of on-site and off-site emergency plans Development of Mutual Aid Response Group (MARG) in industrial pockets Case studies of major accidents and emergency response experience Awareness and capacity building for transport sector


Integration of emergency response capabilities i.e. fire brigade, private sector, civil defence Preparedness of all involved in emergency situations i.e. fire brigade, private sector, civil defence, health services, police, volunteer workers, etc. Hazard and risk assessment relevant for the community i.e. earthquake, tsunami, flooding, landslides, storm, industrial and transport accidents, etc. Initiation of measures for risk reduction i.e. technical or organisational measures, land use planning – industrial and residential zoning, settlements in flood- and landslide prone areas, enforcement of building codes, transport routing, etc. Development of an integrated, well practiced and regularly updated emergency response plan well connected to district-, state- and national contingency plans Preparedness for all emergency situations leading to less vulnerable and better protected communities and impact reduction, if a disaster hits Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level UNEP APELL initiative


Challenges Industrial and chemical safety assume greater importance due to high growth in manufacturing sector Quality standards and better norms of enforcement Standardization of on and off-site emergency plans Proper system of certification for risk assessment, emergency plans and safety audit Regular drills for checking the effectiveness of the plans and of the emergency preparedness Training and capacity building at all levels Involvement of insurance companies for better risk management in industrial sector Increased awareness among workers and communities


Opportunities National Disaster Management Act 2005 Holistic framework of disaster management National Disaster Management Authority National consultation process National, Sectoral and Unit level disaster management plans


Thank you

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