Bhopal 1984 gas Tragedy

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On December 3rd, 1984, thousands of people in Bhopal, India, were gassed to death after a catastrophic chemical leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant. More than 150,000 people were left severely disabled - of whom 22,000 have since died of their injuries - in a disaster now widely acknowledged as the world’s worst-ever industrial disaster.

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Bhopal 1984 : 

Bhopal 1984 When I saw the leaves on the trees curl and turn black and birds fall dead out of the sky, I knew that this was Death, come among us as foretold. My regret is that I survived.

Key facts (1 of 1) : 

Key facts (1 of 1) On December 3rd, 1984, thousands of people in Bhopal, India, were gassed to death after a catastrophic chemical leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant. More than 150,000 people were left severely disabled - of whom 22,000 have since died of their injuries - in a disaster now widely acknowledged as the world’s worst-ever industrial disaster. More than 27 tons of methyl isocyanate and other deadly gases turned Bhopal into a gas chamber. None of the six safety systems at the plant were functional, and Union Carbide’s own documents prove the company designed the plant with “unproven” and “untested” technology, and cut corners on safety and maintenance in order to save money.

Key facts (2 of 2) : 

Key facts (2 of 2) Today, twenty years after the Bhopal disaster, at least 50,000 people are too sick to work for a living, and a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed that the children of gas-affected parents are themselves afflicted by Carbide’s poison. Carbide is still killing in Bhopal. The chemicals that Carbide abandoned in and around their Bhopal factory have contaminated the drinking water of 20,000 people. Testing published in a 2002 report revealed poisons such as 1,3,5 trichlorobenzene, dichloromethane, chloroform, lead and mercury in the breast milk of nursing women living near the factory.

Disaster by Design : 

Disaster by Design Bhopal is not only a disaster, but a corporate crime. It began as a classic instance of corporate double-standards: Union Carbide was obliged to install state-of-the-art technology in Bhopal, but instead used inferior and unproven technology and employed lax operating procedures and maintenance and safety standards compared to those used in its US 'sister-plant'. Carbide's Safety Meltdown NONE of the safety systems designed to prevent a leak - six in all - were operational on THAT NIGHT: 1. Flare Tower (disconnected)2. Vent Gas Scrubber (out of caustic soda and inadequate for unsafe volume of gas)3. Water Curtain (not functional; designed with inadequate height)4. Pressure Valve (leaking)5. Run Off Tank (already contained MIC)6. Mandatory Refrigeration for MIC Unit (shut down for 3 months to save money)

Dirty Dow : 

Dirty Dow Although Dow Chemical acquired Carbide’s liabilities when it purchased the company in 2001 , it still refuses to address its liabilities in Bhopal - or even admit that they exist. Till date, Dow-Carbide has refused to:1) Clean up the site, which continues to contaminate those near it, or to provide just compensation for those who have been injured or made ill by this poison;2) Fund medical care, health monitoring and necessary research studies, or even to provide all the information it has on the leaked gases and their medical consequences;3) Provide alternate livelihood opportunities to victims who can not pursue their usual trade because of their exposure-induced illnesses;4) Stand trial before the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Bhopal, where Union Carbide faces criminal charges of culpable homicide (manslaughter), and has fled these charges for the past 15 years.

I'M OUTRAGED THAT: : 

I'M OUTRAGED THAT: There was no siren and no warning--people woke with the gases already in their faces, filling their mouths, noses and lungs with excruciating pain. NONE of safety systems were functioning on the night of the disaster—six in all. Union Carbide under-invested in an inherently hazardous facility located in a crowded neighborhood, used admittedly unproven designs, stored lethal MIC in reckless quantities, dismantled safety systems and cut down on safety staff and training in an effort to cut costs. Union Carbide and its new owner, Dow Chemical, continue to blame the disaster on a fictitious and unnamed worker, and deny their own negligence. In the wake of the disaster, Carbide claimed that the gas was harmless, when it knew it was lethal (as described in its own manuals). Dow-Carbide refuses to share all its medical information about the health effects of the gas it released, MIC--information that doctors could use to save lives--claiming the information is a “trade secret”. Union Carbide fled India and abandoned its Bhopal plant, leaving thousands of tons of dangerous chemicals behind, which are now poisoning the water of the same people Carbide first poisoned 20 years ago. As more people grow sick, Dow-Carbide still refuses to clean up its pollution in Bhopal. The Union Carbide Corporation, charged criminally with “culpable homicide” in the wake of the disaster, has refused to appear in court or stand trial. Union Carbide is now an international fugitive from justice, considered an “absconder” under Indian law

The Indian Government Must: : 

The Indian Government Must: Set up a National Commission on Bhopal with the participation of non-government doctors and scientists and representatives of survivors for long term health monitoring, research, care and rehabilitation of the survivors of the disaster and their children at least for the next thirty years. Take immediate steps to send an amended request for extradition of Warren Anderson and for extradition of the authorized representative of the Union Carbide Corporation. Set up a special prosecution cell in the Central Bureau of Investigation to expedite the pending criminal case against the Indian subsidiary and Indian officials of Union Carbide. Ensure Dow’s liability for on-site and off-site cleanup and payment of compensation for damage to health and property. Submit an amicus brief in US court in support in support of the plaintiffs. Set up a panel of scientists for independent and expert assessment of soil and groundwater contamination. Publish ICMR toxicological and clinical reports. Blacklist Dow and Union Carbide for purchases by government departments. Ensure that BMHT continues to provide free treatment for gas survivors even after the 8-year deadline.  Declare December 3rd as a National Day of Mourning for the victims of industrial disasters. The disaster in Bhopal must be made part of textbooks in school and university education in the country.

The State Government of Madhya Pradesh Must: : 

The State Government of Madhya Pradesh Must: Supply safe drinking water through Kolar Pipeline in communities affected by Union Carbide’s contamination. Not send chemical wastes from the Union Carbide factory for landfilling or for incineration. Ensure free treatment of patients from communities affected by ground water contamination and persons born to exposed parents in gas rahat hospitals. Not build a memorial without proper cleanup of the Union Carbide factory site. Present a White Paper on expenditures made, programs carried out and results obtained in the last twenty years with regard to the relief and rehabilitation of the survivors.

The United States Government Must: : 

The United States Government Must: Send Warren Anderson and authorized representatives of Union Carbide to stand trial in Indian court.

References : 

References http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/ http://bhopal.net/index1.html Watch Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmtN8NkMcmo&eurl Sign Petition at: http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/Petition/bhopal.php

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