Bhopal Disaster Summary and Prevention

Topics: Bhopal disaster, Bhopal, Methyl isocyanate Pages: 1 (400 words) Published: April 7, 2013
On December 3rd, 1984, the world’s worst chemical disaster took place in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India—and the harsh truth is that it could all have been preventable. Union Carbide, an American company located in Bhopal, was known to produce to produce a pesticide called Sevin, and among the chemicals used to produce it was methyl isocyanate (C2H3NO; short form: MIC). Chemical properties of MIC include: highly reactive—with water for example—and flammable, a sharp, pungent odour, and etc. Some physical properties of MIC include: a clear, colourless liquid, boiling point at 39.5°C, and etc. MIC was stored inside tanks at the plant and on the night of December 3rd, water had leaked into a tank and reacted violently with the MIC. The sole fact that they could have stored a less dangerous chemical than MIC may have prevented toxic gases from emitting and affecting the locals in the city. The gas was corrosive to the eyes, affected the skin due to toxic effect, caused stomach pain and vomiting, and shortness of breaths. Aside from the short term effects, the long term effects consisted of lung disease and respiratory problems, pulmonary obstruction, and brain damage which resulted into slurred speech and constricted vision. Despite the tragedy that occurred, the Bhopal disaster was indeed preventable within the plant. The refrigeration system that was meant to keep the MIC cool was not working, the scrubbers could not keep the gas from escaping and the flare tower only managed to burn off some of it, the safety systems were manual and the workers were not aware of the situation. If the company had used their money to better develop all of these devices and follow their safety procedures, the situation may have been prevented. Also, if the company had not denied the leak, many residents could have prepared themselves for whatever was to come. A more safe option could have been to not construct a plant that carries MIC in an area populated by humans. The disaster had a...
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