Bhopal Gas Tragedy – Disturbing Facts
June 21, 2010 10 Comments
During the night of December 2–3, 1984, large amounts of water entered tank 610, containing 42 tons of methyl isocyanate. The resulting exothermic reaction increased the temperature inside the tank to over 200 °C (392 °F), raising the pressure to a level the tank was not designed to withstand. This forced the emergency venting of pressure from the MIC holding tank, releasing a large volume of toxic gases into the atmosphere. The gases flooded the city of Bhopal, causing great panic as people woke up with a burning sensation in their lungs. Thousands died immediately from the effects of the gas and many were trampled in the panic.
On 7 June 2010 seven former employees of the Union Carbide subsidiary, all Indian nationals and many in their 70s, were convicted of causing death by negligence and each sentenced to two years imprisonment and fined Rs.1 lakh (US$2,124; €1,776). All were released on bail shortly after the verdict.
- Medical staff were unprepared for the thousands of casualties.
- Doctors and hospitals were not informed of proper treatment methods for MIC gas inhalation. They were told to simply give cough medicine and eye drops to their patients.
- The gases immediately caused visible damage to the trees. Within a few days, all the leaves fell off.
- 2,000 bloated animal carcasses had to be disposed of.
- “Operation Faith”: On December 16, the tanks 611 and 619 were emptied of the remaining MIC. This led to a second mass evacuation from Bhopal.
- Complaints of a lack of information or misinformation were widespread. The Bhopal plant medical doctor did not have proper information about the properties of the gases. An Indian Government spokesman said that “Carbide is more interested in getting information from us than in helping our relief work.”
- As of 2008, UCC had not released information about the possible composition of the cloud.
- Formal statements were issued that air, water, vegetation and foodstuffs were safe within the city. At the same time, people were informed that poultry was unaffected, but were warned not to consume fish.