All the safety features had failed - that much was abundantly clear. What Mr. Warren Anderson could not find out was why. As CEO of Union Carbide, he needed to know exactly what had happened in Bhopal, India, that night for a number of reasons. He knew that he would have to explain a tragic accident to employees, to government officials in both the United States and India, to the courts, and to the people. Yet, he could not get answers to his own preliminary and personal questions. When telephone contact failed to yield answers, he got on a plane and flew to India, where he was immediately placed under house arrest-unable to attend to the very business that had brought him there. His plant managers had also been arrested and were not allowed to talk to anyone. Indian government officials had closed the plant to Union Carbide management in order to prevent "tampering with evidence". The basic facts that Anderson could not determine on December 3, 1984, were really quite simple. A runaway reaction had occurred fin a storage tank of methyl-iso-cyanate (MIC), which was used to manufacture a pesticide. The valves on the tank had burst, and a cloud of poisonous gas had escaped. Climatic conditions kept the gas from dissipating, and the winds carried it to nearby shantytowns and the populous city of Bhopal, where people either died in their sleep or woke and died while fleeing. Those who survived suffered from burning eyes and lungs. Local medical facilities were not equipped for the disaster, and over the next few weeks thousands more died. Union Carbide India Ltd. (UCIL), operated the Bhopal plant with the parent company, Union Carbide, owning roughly 51 per cent. After installing the plant and training its first staff, Union Carbide withdrew from the daily operation of the plant, as it was required to do by the Indian government. Union Carbide did participate in the inspections and responded to official questions and concerns, but no U.S... [continues]
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