Bhopal Disaster: Causes and Effects

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Bhopal Disaster: Causes and Effects
By Daniel Olufemi

December 2-3, 1984, the world witnessed an industrial catastrophe that claimed hundreds of thousand of lives, also living a huge army of victims with assortment of permanent disabilities. Newsmagazines, newspapers and newswires across the globe literally competed among themselves with screaming headlines to depict the disaster. The Time Magazine described it as The Night of death. The site of the incident was the pesticide plant of the Union Carbide India Limited in Bhopal and the adjoining communities in India where a sudden leak of more than 40 tons of methyl isocyanate from the plant had led to the staggering. According to news reports, workers got the warning signal of the leak about midnight when they felt buring sensation in their eyes, which began, streaming down with tears. A short while before, a machine operator at the plant had noticed a small leak of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and an increasing pressure in a storage tank. Soon after, as the pressure and heat from the chemical reaction in the tank built up, the safety valve gave way, sending a plume of MIC gas into the air. Events following were better imagined than seen. Within hours, the streets of Bhopal were littered with human corpses, including the carcasses of land and air animals. For hours tons of Methyl Isocyanate poured out of the tank unhindered escaping escaped into the air and steadily hovering over the affected communities of about 900,000 residents and travelling many kilometers away from the plant. While hundreds of the residents died in their sleep, many more died as they fled the scene of the pandemonium in panic. Hard hit were residents of the shanties surrounding the plant, including Chola Kenchi, Jayaprakash Nagar, Kazi Camp, apparently one of the poorest communities in India.

Though, there have been conflicting figures on the number of deaths in the disaster, a report by USA Today Magazine, states that at...
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