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Disaster Spills Across Bhopal

4.9 of 5.0 (14 reviews)

475 words
Science & Nature

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Imagine a world without chemicals. Even though they sound so horrible, we use them in all most everything. Like the saying goes, 'can't live with them, can't live without them,' chemicals are involved in our everyday lives, yet they are so forgien to the human body. When people interact with these things the wrong way they get hurt, so it doesn't make sense that chemicals are used so dependently. So what happens when something goes wrong, and it has. On more than one occasion people or machines make mistakes and many people suffer.
A large maker of chemicals, Union Carbide, built its corporation in Bhopal, India, not expecting the worst. The worst being a disaster that would ruin the company's reputation permanently. An angry worker, mad at a manager, decided to spoil a batch of chemicals in the plant. On the night of December 2nd, 1984, the unnamed suspect pumped large amounts of water into a chemical storage tank with a hose (Saxon, 1). The tank was filled with the gas Methyl Isocyanate (MIC), a chemical used in pesticides and very lethal to humans (Leonard, 3).
Around 11:00 p.m., a worker noted that heat and pressure were building in a tank and called for assistance, but by then it was too late. At 12:56 a.m., the morning of December 3rd, a faulty valve ruptured, allowing the deadly gas to escape into the atmosphere and cause a huge vapor puff to fall onto silent, sleeping Bhopal (Cush, 30).
Before the release of 40 tons of MIC, Bhopal was a prospering city. The population was growing to about 700,000 people. In India large corporations were encouraged to build there to bring more jobs to the community and raise the economy. So when Union Carbide built their plant in the middle of heavy slums and shantytowns, they were welcomed with open arms.
In the seven years the plant was running, it experienced six small accidents, and still had no safety plan in case of an emergency. To prevent the seventh accident from happening there were two safety devices, but they both broke down. The first machine, called a scrubber, was supposed to contain the highly toxic gas by adding another chemical to neutralize it. Rumor was that it couldn't contain the amount of leaking gas. The second was to burn the gas before it caused harm, but it also failed (Cush, 30).
As the black cloud fell, the people of Bhopal died without ever knowing what happened (Bhopal India, 1). Others that knew what was happening tried to run to escape its wrath, but it showed no mercy. People were instantly blinded, and once inhaled, blood was coughed up and people gasped for air, only to inhale more fumes (Cush, 31). As well as torturing deaths there were many diseases given. Damaged immune systems, posttraumatic stress disorders, menstrual and gastronomical problems ...

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Keywords: bhopal disaster process safety, bhopal disaster how it happened, bhopal disaster victims, bhopal disaster consequences

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