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Bhopal - December 3rd 1984

This night, 25 years ago, a leakage in the Union Carbide chemical factory in Bhopal caused the death of 8000 people within the first days and the death of estimated 25.000 people till today.100.000 - 200.000 people have permanent injuries as blindness, lung disease, severe birth defects and many other diseases.
There were prior warnings and accidents, some of them causing the death of workers.
"1980 to 1984: The work crew of the MIC unit was halved from 12 to six workers, the maintenance crew from six to two workers. On December 26, 1981 a plant operator was killed by a phosgene gas leak. Another phosgene leak in January 1982 severely injured 28 workers and in October the same year MIC escaped from a broken valve and four workers were exposed to the chemical. The senior officials of the Union Carbide, privy to a "business confidential" safety audit in May 1982, were well aware of 61 hazards, 30 of them major and 11 in the dangerous phosgene/MIC units. Remedial measures were then taken at Union Carbide's identical MIC plant in West Virginia, USA, but not in Bhopal." (source: Greenpeace)
"Equipment and safety regulations
Union Carbide MIC plant
* It emerged in 1998, during civil action suits in India, that, unlike Union Carbide plants in the USA, its Indian subsidiary plants were not prepared for problems. No action plans had been established to cope with incidents of this magnitude. This included not informing local authorities of the quantities or dangers of chemicals used and manufactured at Bhopal.
* The MIC tank alarms had not worked for 4 years.
* There was only one manual back-up system, not the four-stage system used in the USA.
* The flare tower and the vent gas scrubber had been out of service for 5 months before the disaster. The gas scrubber therefore did not treat escaping gases with sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), which might have brought the concentration down to a safe level. Even if the scrubber had been working, according to Weir, investigations in the aftermath of the disaster discovered that the maximum pressure it could handle was only one-quarter of that which was present in the accident. Furthermore, the flare tower itself was improperly designed and could only hold one-quarter of the volume of gas that was leaked in 1984.
* To reduce energy costs, the refrigeration system, designed to inhibit the volatilization of MIC, had been left idle — the MIC was kept at 20 degrees Celsius, not the 4.5 degrees advised by the manual, and some of the coolant was being used elsewhere.
* The steam boiler, intended to clean the pipes, was out of action for unknown reasons.
* Slip-blind plates that would have prevented water from pipes being cleaned from leaking into the MIC tanks through faulty valves were not installed. Their installation had been omitted from the cleaning checklist.
* Water sprays designed to “knock down” gas leaks were poorly designed — set to 13 metres and below, they could not spray high enough to reduce the concentration of escaping gas.
* The MIC tank had been malfunctioning for roughly a week. Other tanks had been used for that week, rather than repairing the broken one, which was left to “stew”. The build-up in temperature and pressure is believed to have affected the magnitude of the gas release.
* Carbon steel valves were used at the factory, even though they corrode when exposed to acid. On the night of the disaster, a leaking carbon steel valve was found, allowing water to enter the MIC tanks. The pipe was not repaired because it was believed it would take too much time and be too expensive.
* UCC admitted in their own investigation report that most of the safety systems were not functioning on the night of December 3, 1984.
* Themistocles D'Silva contends that the design of the MIC plant, following government guidelines, was "Indianized" by UCIL engineers to maximize the use of indigenous materials and products. It also dispensed with the use of sophisticated instrumentation as not appropriate for the Indian plant. Because of the unavailability of electronic parts in India, the Indian engineers preferred pneumatic instrumentation." (source: Wikipedia)
Please educate yourself about what western cooperations cause outside their countries.

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