The Bhopal Incident Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  573 Words
Date:  2022-12-06

The Bhopal industrial disaster was a chemical spillage that occurred in 1984 in India in a state known as Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Over forty tons of methyl isocyanate gas (MIC) was released to the atmosphere from the insecticide plant. The gas drifted towards the adjacent overcrowded residential area leading to the death of many people. The survivors suffered from respiratory issues, stillbirth and blindness. After investigations, the authorities came to the conclusion that poor safety procedures were the major cause of the incident.

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The leak had an adverse impact on the health of the people living around the area. Firstly, it took time for the relevant authorities to rehabilitate the area. As such, the industrial waste contaminated the drinking water so many people were still ingesting the hazardous chemical. The inhaled gases caused respiratory ailments such as chronic bronchitis and pulmonary fibrosis. Furthermore, they suffered from eye condition like cataracts. At the time many women were pregnant and MIC caused a lot of neonatal deaths. These diseases made the mortality rate and morbidity rate in the area to rise by a big margin. Those who survived suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for the ordeal they underwent through. Many family members lost their loved ones thus leading to stress. The Supreme Court ordered the company to build a hospital in the area and it was opened in 1998.

A legal inquiry was initiated immediately after the incident. The parties involved included the local Bhopal authorities, Union Carbide Corporation and the government of both India and the United States. The government of India represented the victims of the disaster. Union, Carbide Corporation was ordered to give out money to help out the injured and it gave out $ 2 million. After a series of deliberations, the company paid $470 million as damages for the catastrophe. That was only the civil suit, criminal proceedings were initiated against the company. The chairman Mr Warren Anderson was found guilty but the United States government refused to extradite him to India.

One of the major mistake the authorities did from a management perspective was to give out a license. Initially, an administrator had advised that the plant is built somewhere else but his concerns were ignored. Subsequently, the plant has been built near a residential area which was densely populated. Secondly, all the safety procedures were not functioning at the time of the incident. The scrubber is supposed to be kept active but the management decided to put it in passive mode. The refrigerator plant was also switched off. All these decisions were not in line with the safety manual of the company.


It is paramount for a company to regularly rehearse its emergency procedures. This will enable the employees to be better prepared in case of any eventuality (Supervisors' safety manual, 2009). The surrounding communities should also be included in the emergency briefs. If the management finds out there is a hardware malfunction, the activities of the company should be halted until it is fully repaired. All the repairs being carried out should be documented as this will be useful for reference in case of employee turnover. Educating the employees on the effects of the chemical they are using is critical. This way, they will learn to appreciate the danger it poses to them and the community. It will ensure everything they do is done diligently and with a lot of care.


National Safety Council. (2009). Supervisors' safety manual (10th Ed.). Itasca, Ill.

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