Friday, December 03, 2010


The Bhopal Catastrophe

"Bhopal is probably the site of the greatest industrial disaster in history. Between 1977 and 1984, Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), located within a crowded working class neighborhood in Bhopal, was licensed by the Madhya Pradesh Government to manufacture phosgene, monomethylamine (MMA), methylisocyanate (MIC) and the pesticide carbaryl, also known as Sevin.
On the night of the 2-3 December 1984 water inadvertently entered the MIC storage tank, where over 40 metric tons of MIC were being stored. The addition of water to the tank caused a runaway chemical reaction, resulting in a rapid rise in pressure and temperature. The heat generated by the reaction, the presence of higher than normal concentrations of chloroform, and the presence of an iron catalyst , produced by the corrosion of the stainless steel tank wall, resulted in a reaction of such momentum, that gases formed could not be contained by safety systems.
As a result, MIC and other reaction products, in liquid and vapor form, escaped from the plant into the surrounding areas. There was no warning for people surrounding the plant as the emergency sirens had been switched off. The effect on the people living in the shanty settlements just over the fence was immediate and devastating. Many died in their beds, others staggered from their homes, blinded and choking, to die in the street.

Many more died later after reaching hospitals and emergency aid centers. The early acute effects were vomiting and burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat, and most deaths have been attributed to respiratory failure. For some, the toxic gas caused such massive internal secretions that their lungs became clogged with fluids, while for others, spasmodic constriction of the bronchial tubes led to suffocation. It is been estimated that at least 3000 people died as a result of this accident, while figures for the number of people injured currently range from 200,000 to 600,000, with an estimated 500,000 typically quoted. The factory was closed down after the accident."

Bhopal: 26 years and still waiting for justice

"Dow Chemicals that took over Union Carbide has refused to accept Indian Jurisdiction and hence any responsibility."


Anonymous greencrow said...

Thanks for posting this, nolo. Even though I was around during the disaster...the mainstream media never did explain what exactly happened. The descriptions usually centered on the fact that it happened to dwellers of a "shantytown' and thus of no consequence....borne out by the lack of justice for the victims.


4/12/10 1:35 PM  
Blogger nolocontendere said...

This is another "stall until they die" tragedy like agent orange and gulf war sickness, and now the gulf of mexico

4/12/10 2:33 PM  

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