Bhopal Gas Tragedy

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Made by:- Rajan Gupta 28 Arham Jain 10 Shubham Khullar 34 Yatin Kwatra 39 Manil Gupta 21 Chirag Gupta 11

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Class IX-A

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Bhopal Gas Tragedy

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Acknowledgement We have derived this information, on Bhopal Gas Tragedy, from wikipedia.com and google.com .

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The Bhopal disaster , also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a gas leak incident in India, considered the world's worst industrial disaster. It occurred on the night of 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanine gas and other chemicals. The toxic substance made its way in and around the shantytowns located near the plant. Estimates vary on the death toll. The official immediate death toll was 2,259. The government of Madhya Pradesh confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. Others estimate 8,000 died within two weeks and another 8,000 or more have since died from gas-related diseases. A government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial injuries and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries.

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The release Methylamine reacts with phosgene  producing methyl isocyanine which reacts with 1-naphthol to yieldcarbaryl  The 1985 reports give a picture of what led to the disaster and how it developed, although they differ in details. In November 1984, most of the safety systems were not functioning and many valves and lines were in poor condition. In addition to this, several vent gas scrubbers had been out of service as well as the steam boiler, intended to clean the pipes was no operational. Other issue was that, Tank 610 contained 42 tons of MIC which was much more than what safety rules allowed. During the night of 2–3 December 1984, water entered Tank E610 containing 42 tons of MIC. A runaway reaction started, which was accelerated by contaminants, high temperatures and other factors. The reaction was sped up by the presence of iron from corroding non-stainless steel pipelines. The resulting exothermic reaction increased the temperature inside the tank to over 200 °C (392 °F) and raised the pressure. This forced the emergency venting of pressure from the MIC holding tank, releasing a large volume of toxic gases. About 30 metric tons of methyl isocyanine (MIC) escaped from the tank into the atmosphere in 45 to 60 minutes.

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The gas cloud The gases were blown in southeastern direction over Bhopal. As of 2008, UCC had not released information about the possible composition of the cloud. Apart from MIC, the gas cloud may have contained phosgene, hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, oxides of nitrogen, monomethyl amine (MMA) and carbon dioxide, either produced in the storage tank or in the atmosphere. The gas cloud was composed mainly of materials denser than the surrounding air, stayed close to the ground and spread outwards through the surrounding community. The nature of the cloud is still discussed. The chemical reactions would have produced a liquid or solid aerosol with high density. The concentrations at ground level would have been much higher than earlier published.

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Acute effects Reversible reaction of glutathione with methyl isocyanine (MIC, middle) allows the MIC to be transported into the body The initial effects of exposure were coughing, vomiting, severe eye irritation and a feeling of suffocation. People awakened by these symptoms fled away from the plant. Those who ran inhaled more than those who had a vehicle to ride. Owing to their height, children and other people of shorter stature inhaled higher concentrations. Many people were trampled trying to escape. Thousands of people had succumbed by the morning hours. There were mass funerals and mass cremations. Bodies were dumped into the Narmada River, less than 100 km from Bhopal. 170,000 people were treated at hospitals and temporary dispensaries. 2,000 buffalo, goats, and other animals were collected and buried. Within a few days, leaves on trees yellowed and fell off. Supplies, including food, became scarce owing to suppliers' safety fears. Fishing was prohibited causing further supply shortages .

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Within a few days, trees in the vicinity became barren, and 2,000 bloated animal carcasses had to be disposed of. On 16 December, tanks 611 and 619 were emptied of the remaining MIC. This led to a second mass evacuation from Bhopal. The Government of India passed the "Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster Act" that gave the government rights to represent all victims, whether or not in India. Complaints of lack of information or misinformation were widespread. An Indian Government spokesman said, "Carbide is more interested in getting information from us than in helping our relief work." Formal statements were issued that air, water, vegetation and foodstuffs were safe within the city. At the same time, people were informed that poultry was unaffected, but were warned not to consume fish. No one under the age of 18 was registered at the time of the accident. The number of children exposed to the gases was at least 200,000. The acute symptoms were burning in the respiratory tract and eyes, blepharospasm, breathlessness, stomach pains and vomiting. The causes of deaths were choking, reflexogenic circulatory collapse and pulmonary oedema. Findings during autopsies revealed changes not only in the lungs but also cerebral oedema, tubular necrosis of the kidneys, fatty degeneration of the liver and necrotisingenteritis. The stillbirth rate increased by up to 300% and neonatal mortality rate by around 200%.

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Long term health effects All data about the health effects are still not available. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was forbidden to publish health effect data until 1994. A total of 36 wards were marked by the authorities as being "gas affected", affecting a population of 520,000. Of these, 200,000 were below 15 years of age, and 3,000 were pregnant women. The official immediate death toll was 2,259, and in 1991, 3,928 deaths had been officially certified. Others estimate 8,000 died within two weeks. The government of Madhya Pradesh confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. Later, the affected area was expanded to include 700,000 citizens. A government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial injuries and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries.

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Health care In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the health care system became overloaded. Within weeks, the State Government established a number of hospitals, clinics and mobile units in the gas-affected area to treat the victims. Since the leak, large number of private practitioners were opened in Bhopal. In the severely affected areas, nearly 70 percent were under qualified doctors. Medical staff was unprepared for the thousands of casualties. Doctors and hospitals were not aware about proper treatment methods for MIC gas inhalation and they were directed to give cough medicine and eye drops to the patients. The Government of India had focused primarily on increasing the hospital-based services for gas victims thus hospitals had been built after the disaster. When UCC wanted to sell its shares in UCIL, it was directed by the Supreme Court to finance a 500-bed hospital for the medical care of the survivors. Thus, Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) was inaugurated in 1998 and was obliged to give free care for survivors for eight years. BMHRC was a 350-bedded super specialty hospital were heart surgery and hemodialysis were done however, there was dearth of gynecology, obstetrics and pediatrics. Eight mini-units (outreach health centers) were started and free health care for gas victims were to be offered till 2006. The management had also faced problems with strikes, and the quality of the health care being disputed. Sambhavna Trust is a charitable trust, registered in 1995, that gives modern as well as ayurvedic treatments to gas victims, free of charge

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Environmental rehabilitation When the factory was closed in 1986, pipes, drums and tanks were sold. The MIC and the Sevin plants are still there, as are storages of different residues. Isolation material is falling down and spreading. The area around the plant was used as a dumping area for hazardous chemicals. In 1982 tubewells in the vicinity of the UCIL factory had to be abandoned and tests in 1989 performed by UCC‘s laboratory revealed that soil and water samples collected from near the factory and inside the plant were toxic to fish. Several other studies had also shown polluted soil and groundwater in the area. Reported polluting compounds include 1-naphthol, naphthalene, Sevin, tarry residue, mercury, toxicorganochlorines, volatile organochlorine compounds, chromium, copper, nickel, lead, hexachloroethane, hexachlorobutadiene, and the pesticide HCH. In order to provide safe drinking water to the population around the UCIL factory, Government of Madhya Pradesh presented a scheme for improvement of water supply. In December 2008, the Madhya Pradesh High Court decided that the toxic waste should be incinerated at Ankleshwar in Gujarat, which was met by protests from activists all over India. On 8 June 2012, the Centre for incineration of toxic Bhopal waste agreed to pay  250 million (US$4.3 million) to dispose of UCIL chemical plants waste in Germany. On 9 August 2012, Supreme court directed the Union and Madhya Pradesh Governments to, take immediate steps for disposal of toxic waste lying around and inside the factory within six-month. A US court rejected the law suit blaming UCC for causing soil and water pollution around the site of the plant and ruled that responsibility for remedial measures or related claims rested with the State Government and not with UCC. In 2005, the state government invited various Indian architects to enter their "concept for development of a memorial complex for Bhopal gas tragedy victims at the site of Union Carbide". In 2011, a conference was held on the site, with participants from European universities which was aimed for the same.

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Occupational and habitation rehabilitation 33 of the 50 planned work-sheds for gas victims started. All except one was closed down by 1992. 1986, the MP government invested in the Special Industrial Area Bhopal. 152 of the planned 200 work-sheds were built and in 2000, 16 were partially functioning. It was estimated that 50,000 persons need alternative jobs, and that less than 100 gas victims had found regular employment under the government's scheme. The government also planned 2486 flats in two- and four-story buildings in the "Widows colony" outside Bhopal. The water did not reach the upper floors and it was not possible to keep cattle which were their primary occupation. Infrastructure like buses, schools, etc. were missing for at least a decade.

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Economic rehabilitation Immediate relieves were decided two days after the tragedy. Relief measures commenced in 1985 when food was distributed for a short period along with ration cards. Madhya Pradesh government's finance department allocated  874 million (US$15 million) for victim relief in July 1985. Widow pension of  200 (US$3.40)/per month (later  750 (US$13)) were provided. They government also decided to pay  1,500 (US$26) to families with monthly income  500 (US$8.60) or less. As a result of the interim relief, more children were able to attend school, more money was spent on treatment and food, and housing also eventually improved. From 1990 interim relief of  200 (US$3.40) was paid to everyone in the family who was born before the disaster. The final compensation, including interim relief for personal injury was for the majority  25,000 (US$430). For death claim, the average sum paid out was  62,000 (US$1,100). Each claimant were to be categorised by a doctor. In court, the claimants were expected to prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that death or injury in each case was attributable to exposure. In 1992, 44 percent of the claimants still had to be medically examined. By the end of October 2003, according to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department, compensation had been awarded to 554,895 people for injuries received and 15,310 survivors of those killed. The average amount to families of the dead was $2,200 In 2007, 1,029,517 cases were registered and decided. Number of awarded cases were 574,304 and number of rejected cases 455,213. Total compensation awarded was  15,464.7 million (US$270 million). On 24 June 2010, the Union Cabinet of the Government of India approved a  12,650 million (US$220 million) aid package which would be funded by Indian taxpayers through the government.

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Union Carbide's defense Now owned by Dow Chemical Company, Union Carbide denied the allegations against it on its website dedicated to the tragedy. The corporation claimed that the incident was the result of sabotage, stating that safety systems were in place and operative. It also stressed that it did all it could to alleviate human suffering following the disaster.

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Investigation into possible sabotage Theories differ as to how the water entered the tank. At the time, workers were cleaning out pipes with water. The workers maintain that entry of water through the plant's piping system during the washing of lines was possible because a slip-blind was not used, the downstream bleeder lines were partially clogged, many valves were leaking, and the tank was not pressurised. The water, which was not draining properly through the bleeder valves, may have built up in the pipe, rising high enough to pour back down through another series of lines in the MIC storage tank. Once water had accumulated to a height of 6 metres (20 feet), it could drain by gravity flow back into the system. Alternatively, the water may have been routed through another standby "jumper line" that had only recently been connected to the system. Indian scientists suggested that additional water might have been introduced as a "back-flow" from the defectively designed vent-gas scrubber. However, none of these postulated routes of entry could be duplicated when tested by the Central Bureau of Investigators (CBI) and UCIL engineers. Union Carbide cited an investigation conducted by the engineering consulting firm Arthur D. Little, which concluded that a single employee secretly and deliberately introduced a large amount of water into the MIC tank by removing a meter and connecting a water hose directly to the tank through the metering port. Carbide claimed that such a large amount of water could not have found its way into the tank by accident, and safety systems were not designed to deal with intentional sabotage. Documents cited in the Arthur D. Little report stated that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) along with UCIL engineers tried to simulate the water-washing hypothesis as a route of the entry of water into the tank. This test failed to support this as a route of the water entry. UCC claims the plant staff falsified numerous records to distance themselves from the incident, and that the Indian Government impeded its investigation and declined to prosecute the employee responsible, presumably because that would weaken its allegations of negligence by Union Carbide.

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Safety and equipment issues The corporation denied the claim that the valves on the tank were malfunctioning, and claimed that the documented evidence gathered after the incident showed that the valve close to the plant's water-washing operation was closed and was leak-tight. Furthermore, process safety systems had prevented water from entering the tank by accident. Carbide states that the safety concerns identified in 1982 were all allayed before 1984 and had nothing to do with the incident. The company admitted that the safety systems in place would not have been able to prevent a chemical reaction of that magnitude from causing a leak. According to Carbide, "in designing the plant's safety systems, a chemical reaction of this magnitude was not factored in" because "the tank's gas storage system was designed to automatically prevent such a large amount of water from being inadvertently introduced into the system" and "process safety systems—in place and operational—would have prevented water from entering the tank by accident". Instead, they claim that "employee sabotage—not faulty design or operation—was the cause of the tragedy".

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Response The company stressed the "immediate action" taken after the disaster and their continued commitment to helping the victims. On 4 December, the day following the leak, Union Carbide sent material aid and several international medical experts to assist the medical facilities in Bhopal. Union Carbide states on its website that it put $2 million into the Indian prime minister's immediate disaster relief fund on 11 December 1984. The corporation established the Employees' Bhopal Relief Fund in February 1985, which raised more than $5 million for immediate relief. According to Union Carbide, in August 1987, they made an additional $4.6 million in humanitarian interim relief available. Union Carbide stated that it also undertook several steps to provide continuing aid to the victims of the Bhopal disaster. The sale of its 50.9 percent interest in UCIL in April 1992 and establishment of a charitable trust to contribute to the building of a local hospital. The sale was finalized in November 1994. The hospital was begun in October 1995 and was opened in 2001. The company provided a fund with around $90 million from sale of its UCIL stock. In 1991, the trust had amounted approximately $100 million. The hospital catered for the treatment of heart, lung and eye problems. UCC also provided a $2.2 million grant to Arizona State University to establish a vocational-technical center in Bhopal, which was opened, but was later closed by the state government. They also donated $5 million to the Indian Red Cross after the disaster. They also developed a Responsible Care system with other members of the chemical industry as a response to the Bhopal crisis, which was designed to help prevent such an event in the future.

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Legal action against Union Carbide Legal proceedings involving UCC, the United States and Indian governments, local Bhopal authorities, and the disaster victims started immediately after the catastrophe. Legal action against UCC dominated the aftermath of the disaster. Other issues have continued to develop including the problems of ongoing contamination and associated criticism of the clean-up operation undertaken by UCIL.

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Legal proceedings leading to the settlement On 14 December 1984, the chairman and CEO of UCC, Warren Anderson, addressed the US Congress, stressing the company's "commitment to safety" and promising to ensure that a similar incident "cannot happen again". The Indian Government passed the Bhopal Gas Leak Act in March 1985, allowing the Government of India to act as the legal representative for victims of the disaster, leading to the beginning of legal proceedings. In 1985, Henry Waxman a California Democrat, called for a US government inquiry into the Bhopal disaster, which resulted in US legislation regarding the accidental release of toxic chemicals in the United States. In March 1986 UCC proposed a settlement figure, endorsed by plaintiffs' US attorneys, of $350 million that would, according to the company, "generate a fund for Bhopal victims of between $500–600 million over 20 years". In May, litigation was transferred from the US to Indian courts by US District Court Judge. Following an appeal of this decision, the US Court of Appeals affirmed the transfer, judging, in January 1987, that UCIL was a "separate entity, owned, managed and operated exclusively by Indian citizens in India". The Government of India refused the offer from Union Carbide and claimed US$ 3.3 billion. The Indian Supreme Court told both sides to come to an agreement and "start with a clean slate" in November 1988. Eventually, in an out-of-court settlement reached in February 1989, Union Carbide agreed to pay US$ 470 million for damages caused in the Bhopal disaster, 15% of the original $3 billion claimed in the lawsuit. Throughout 1990, the Indian Supreme Court heard appeals against the settlement from "activist petitions". In October 1991, the Supreme Court upheld the original $470 million, dismissing any other outstanding petitions that challenged the original decision. The Court ordered the Indian government "to purchase, out of settlement fund, a group medical insurance policy to cover 100,000 persons who may later develop symptoms" and cover any shortfall in the settlement fund. It also requested UCC and its subsidiary UCIL "voluntarily" fund a hospital in Bhopal, at an estimated $17 million, to specifically treat victims of the Bhopal disaster. The company agreed to this.

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Charges against UCC and UCIL employees UCC chairman, CEO Warren Anderson was arrested and released on bail by the Madhya Pradesh Police in Bhopal on 7 December 1984. The arrest, which took place at the airport, ensured Anderson would meet no harm by the Bhopal community. Anderson was taken to UCC's house after which he was released six hours later on $2,100 bail and flown out on a government plane. These actions were allegedly taken under the direction of then chief secretary of the state, who was possibly instructed from chief minister's office, who himself flew out of Bhopal immediately. Later in 1987, the Indian government summoned Anderson, eight other executives and two company affiliates with homicide charges to appear in Indian court. In response, Union Carbide balked, saying the company is not under Indian jurisdiction. In 1991, the local Bhopal authorities charged Anderson, who had retired in 1986, with manslaughter, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He was declared a fugitive from justice by the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal on 1 February 1992 for failing to appear at the court hearings in a culpable homicide case in which he was named the chief defendant. Orders were passed to the Government of India to press for an extradition from the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the decision of the lower federal courts in October 1993, meaning that victims of the Bhopal disaster could not seek damages in a US court.

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In 2004, the Indian Supreme Court ordered the Indian government to release any remaining settlement funds to victims. And in September 2006, the Welfare Commission for Bhopal Gas Victims announced that all original compensation claims and revised petitions had been "cleared". The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City upheld the dismissal of remaining claims in the case of  Bano v. Union Carbide Corporation  in 2006. This move blocked plaintiffs' motions for class certification and claims for property damages and remediation. In the view of UCC, "the ruling reaffirms UCC's long-held positions and finally puts to rest—both procedurally and substantively—the issues raised in the class action complaint first filed against Union Carbide in 1999 by Haseena Bi and several organisations representing the residents of Bhopal". In June 2010, seven former employees of UCIL, all Indian nationals and many in their 70s, were convicted of causing death by negligence and each sentenced to two years imprisonment and fined Rs.1 lakh (US$2,124). All were released on bail shortly after the verdict. The names of those convicted are: Keshub Mahindra, former non-executive chairman of Union Carbide India Limited; V.P. Gokhale, managing director; Kishore Kamdar, vice-president; J. Mukund, works manager; S.P. Chowdhury, production manager; K.V. Shetty, plant superintendent; and S.I. Qureshi, production assistant. Federal class action litigation, Sahu v. Union Carbide and Warren Anderson, sought damages for personal injury, medical monitoring and injunctive relief in the form of clean-up of the drinking water supplies for residential areas near the Bhopal plant. The lawsuit was dismissed and subsequent appeal denied.