If it would have been possible to erase the memory then everyone in Bhopal would have like to delete the painful memories of the night that changed their life forever. The fateful night of 2-3rd December 1984 that claimed thousands of innocent lifes was marked as darkest day in the history of modern India in general and Bhopal in particular. Bhopal witnessed unarguably the World's worst industrial gas disaster due to leakage of Methyl isocynite gas from United Carbide India Limited Plant.The tragic incident known as the Bhopal disaster or Bhopal Gas tragedy still haunts the people whenever they come to recount the past.
About Bhopal Gas Disaster
The United Carbide India Limited was a pesticide company which used to manufacture Carbonyl. Although the company named it Sevin. Methyl Isocynaite (MIC) was one of the intermediates of the product Sevin. Though the toxic MIC was not necessary for the production but the company choose to go ahead with it to curb the manufacturing cost. The Bhopal plant was used to produce the MIC by reacting Methylamine and Phosgene. MIC was highly toxic and dangerous to the mankind. Even after numerous warnings the use of MIC was not stopped. Later due to carelessness and lack of maintenance leakage of gases started happening in Bhopal and started claiming lives in the early 80s. But even though negligence continued and so the deaths. MIC was threatening Bhopal each and every day.
The Intervening Night of 2-3rd December 1984
On the fateful night of 2nd December 1984, the water reached up to a tank which contained 42 tons of MIC. The tank no. 610 started an exothermic reaction in the presence of contaminants and the temperature in the tank rose, the iron present in the pipelines catalyzed the reaction and finally 30 metric tons of highly toxic MIC got released and spread over the city.
The fatal gas released in the environment which contained plenty toxic
gases caused havoc pain and death in the beautiful city of Bhopal.
Nearly 10 hours after the release, the calm, green and beautiful Bhopal
turned into a graveyard. Thousands of people started suffocating and
then died ,many of them were children and below the age of 15. According
to the official data 3,787 people were declared dead, but if witnesses
are to be believed then near about 20000 people chocked to death .The MIC made a huge impact on the city,
not only the loss of lives but also the environment was badly polluted.
The soil with full of toxic waste was contaminated. The gas tragedy made
the 'City of Lakes' to 'City of Death' overnight.
Reasons for Bhopal Gas Disaster
There were several codes and rules that were violated and plenty of security terms were neglected which resulted in the tragedy.On the night of the accident, tank 610 was carrying 42 tons of toxic MIC, which was much higher than the allowed level.The presence of iron core made the reaction more drastic and rapid that happened because of the use of non stainless steel pipelines although according to guidelines that was prohibited. Almost all safety measures present in the plant was inactive and failed to trigger during the incident.The pipelines were not cleaned properly resulting highly contaminating substances participating in the fatal reaction. All these led to the leakages of extremely toxic MIC (methyl isocyanate) gas that within hours claimed the life of many innocent civilians turning lively city into a graveyard.
Post Leakage Developments
The whole nation was shocked and speechless in the next morning. Bhopal was under the influence of the life taking MIC and the rest of the nation was with grief and sorrow. There were mass cremations taking place and cry of people took over the city and pain was the most common thing on the streets. The State government came forward to handle the situation while whole nation mourned at the death of their fellow citizens.The toxic waste of the plant was disposed of to Germany after much dilemma and all waste was removed from Bhopal.
People affected from the gas tragedy were rehabilitated and also given compensation although the process got
delayed. Other job opportunity was created to accommodate them and
normalize their life. In the awake of the incident, several steps were taken to ensure the
speedy recovery of the victims and prepared the city so that such
incidents can be avoided. More hospitals were made. Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre is a glaring example of this initiative. The hospital is made in the memories of all the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy.The authorities
became aware of all possible incidents that may happen. The regulators
were appointed to monitor plants and a closed eye was kept on
At that time people realized that according to law there was not much by which the people of organization can be penalized for their negligence. With Immediate effect Bhopal Gas Act was passed and to ensure no such incident takes place in future. Even after decades people in Bhopal mourns the loss and the city comes to standstill every year on 2- 3rd December. The damage that the city suffered never recovered, the pain that the city suffered never came around, only the plant stands there to teach us a lesson. A lesson that negligence can destroy so many lives. Bhopal saw deaths but ensured no more gas tragedy happens in future.