33 Years of Bhopal Gas Tragedy


33 Years of Bhopal Gas Tragedy


Introduction :-

  • The Bhopal gas tragedy is a gas leak incident that occurred in India on 3rd December 1984. This was considered as one of the largest man-made disasters in the history of mankind.
  • This disaster occurred when methyl isocyanate leaked out of Union Carbide India Limited’s storage tank.
  • Sadly, 33 years after this tragedy, the victims are still fighting for justice.
  • During our school days, we all may have read about Bhopal and its rich and varied heritage. But, sadly this place is also infamous for the gas leak tragedy.
  • The Bhopal gas tragedy is known across the world as the deadliest industrial accidents till date.
  • As per the official records, the Bhopal gas tragedy took the lives of 3787 people. However, activists who were protesting the mishap have estimated the death toll to be much higher – 8000 to 10000.


Events :-

  • The leak started late in the night of 2nd December and then the cool breeze took this gas to the surrounding areas.
  • People died as they were in their sleep and even when they were awake.
  • It has been estimated that almost 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate got leaked during the accident.
  • The gas leak was reported from Plant Number C of the industrial unit.

Health Issues that led to Casualties – 

  • Back in 1984, Bhopal had a population of almost 8.5 lakh people and more than half of the population was coughing up, complaining of itchy eyes, skin rashes, and breathing problems.
  • On that fateful day, the alarm system of the Union Carbide industrial unit did not work, and thousands of people were seen running towards hospitals and nursing homes.
  • Doctors and nurses had never seen such a situation and they were totally unaware of the means of handling such large crowds.
  • Officially, the government declared that the leak was contained in 8 hours, but the effects of the leak are even seen till date.


Measures to Avoid Industrial Disasters :-

  1. Lessons of Disaster Management & First Aid to be made compulsory in all schools & colleges.
  2. Strict Environmental Laws to be implemented.
  3. Improved Safety Standards in Companies that produce toxic or hazardous chemicals.
  4. Regular auditing & supervision of such Industries.
  5. Also, making sure that such Industries/Companies are located far away from residential areas.


Role of Government :-

Ever since the Bhopal Gas tragedy has occurred, the government has taken several steps to ensure that such incidents don’t occur. Strict security measures, stringent safety policies, safety drill mandates, etc. are some of the most important measures taken by the government to avoid any other major mishap.

While the government does it vigilance, citizens too need to be alert to any untoward incidents and raise an alarm when they see anything not correct. A holistic approach to safety is the best approach to prevent manmade disasters.


Industrial Disasters in Past :-

Dates Major Event
April 26, 1986 Chernobyl disaster
May 5, 1988 Norco, Louisiana,
Shell Oil Refinery Explosion
February 7, 2010 Connecticut Power
Plant Explosion
April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
in the Gulf of Mexico
March 2011 Fukushima I Nuclear
Accidents in Japan