“Bhopal Gas Tragedy“.You all might have heard this term many times but do you really know the real story behind this tragedy???
Ofcourse if you are reading this post,it means you don’t know much about it and want to know more about his incident.
So Let’s have a detailed information about the most unfortunate incident in history of india that gave a live outcome of miscontrol of technology.
Introduction-Bhopal Gas Tragedy
Bhopal gas tragedy,the most unfortunate and miserable event took place at a beautiful city of India known as Bhopal(Capital of Madhya Pradesh).
To better understand the event,you need to know some basic chemistry.
Organic and inorganic are two divisions of chemistry.
Organic means all hydrocarbons and rest are inorganic.From “organic” word comes Organisms as all living are called.
Basically i want to say that hydrocarbon is very important.
Humans and all other living being are made from hydrocarbons.
On the other hand hydrocarbons are also very important for use as fuel to produce huge amount of energy.
It produces huge amount of energy if we capitalze hydrocarbons.
This energy is used to run machines of different factories.
What if unfortunately poison is added to these hydrocarbons and the gas is released into the atmosohere????
This is actually what happened at Bhopal in 1984.
Bhopal Gas Tragedy Summary
▪Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) factory was built in 1969 for producing pesticides using methyl isocyanate (MIC) as an intermediate.
▪In UCIL site,an MIC production plant was added in 1979.
The chemical process employed in Bhopal plant had methylamine reacting with phosgene to form MIC.
▪The demand for pesticides had fallen in early 1980s but production continued.
This led to build-up of stores of unused MIC.
▪In UCIL factory,many incidents took place already which were ignored by the authority.
▪Two local trade unions complained of pollution within the plant in 1976.
A worker was accidently splashed with phosgene in 1981.
▪In January 1982,a phosgene leak exposed 24 workers,all those workers were admitted to hospital.
None of the workers were ordered to wear protective masks.
▪One month later,an MIC leak affected 18 workers.
In August 1982 a chemical engineer came into contact with MIC and got got burnt about 30% of his body.
▪Later in same year(1982) again there was MIC leakage.
Even during 1983 and 1984 also there was MIC leakage.
The most shocking about these all was that even after so many incidents and complaints.
No protective measures were taken by the concerned authority of plant.
1984 MIC Leakage
▪In late october 1984, tank E610 lost the ability to effectively contain most of it’s nitrogen gas pressure.
It meant that the liquid MIC contained within could not be pumped out .
▪Complaint was filed regarding leakage of MIC from E610 tank but no action was taken by the authority and the incident was ignored.
▪Later on 1st december starting December,three tanks E610,E611 and E619 started malfunctioning.
▪Finally on 02 December 1984,after 10:30 pm,water was believed to have entered a side pipe.
▪Introduction of water in the tank subsequently resulted in a runaway exothermic reaction,which was accelerated by contaminants,high ambient temperatures and various other factors.
▪Gradually the whole poisonous gas from tank E610 released into air till midnight.
Bhopal gas tragedy Causes of Leakage of MIL
▪No regular maintainence of pipes and valves
▪50% of storage should be free which was not done at all.
▪Another cause was underinvestment in maintaining the factory.
▪There were no cooling systems to stabilize the gases.
▪Old pipes were not replaced due to which leakage increased.
▪MIC should be kept at temperature of 4°c which here was kept at 20°c.
▪Valves were faulty and water soluble
Effects of Bhopal Gas Tragedy
▪Initial effects of the exposure were coughing,severe eye irritation and feeling of suffocation,burning in the respiratory tract,breathlessness,stomach pain and vomiting.
▪People awakened by these symptoms fled away from plant.MIC is twice as dense as air an hence in an open environment has tendency to fall towards the ground.
▪Thousands of people had died by the following morning.
Apart from MIC,based on laboratory stimulation conditions,the gas cloud most likely also contained chloroform,dichloromethane,hydrogen chloride,methyl amine.
Conclusion Bhopal Gas Tragedy
Warren Abderson(UCIL owner) was the devil of Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
In the immediate aftermath,the plant was closed to outsiders by Indian Government.
The UCC chairman and CEO Warren Anderson,together with a technical team,immediately travelled to India.
Upon arrival Anderson was placed under house arrest.However with U.S’s intervention he was rescued to U.S.A
After that only legal proceedings took place.
Ligitation was transferred from U.S to Indian courts by a U.S district court ruling.
Eventually in an out-of-court settlement reached in february 1989,Union Carbide agreed to pay US $470 million for damages caused in Bhopal disaster.
Moreover,the world have learned from this incident that misuse or miscontrol of science can be dangerous.
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