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Environment Medicine Toxins

More Realistic Account of Bhopal Gas Tragedy in New NCERT Book

” … The disaster was not an accident. Union Carbide had deliberately ignored the essential safety measures in order to cut costs. … “

Indo-Asian News Service | January 10, 2011

Bhopal: Against a background of black, the pages tell the story of the world’s worst industrial disaster – in Bhopal on Dec 2-3 night, 1984. The photographs, of the deaths, the sufferers, and the killer factory, have photo captions highlighted in red. This is part of NCERT’s new Social Sciences book for Class 8 for the new academic session. The Social Science edition, that was released this month, recounts the story of the Bhopal gas tragedy under the chapter Law and Social Justice. It not only has a report on the industrial disaster but also raises serious concerns about the fate of the gas-affected people and the weak environment laws in the country.

It dwells on how taking advantage of weak environment laws and availability of cheap labour, environmentally dangerous plants open in developing nations. Several photographs of the incident, victims, deaths and protests have been published in the book.  …

The account begins:

“The world’s worst industrial tragedy took place in Bhopal 24 years ago. Union Carbide (UC), an American company, had a factory in the city in which it produced pesticides. At midnight of 2 December, methyl-isocyanate (MIC) – a highly poisonous gas – started leaking from the UC plant… Within three days, more than 8,000 people were dead. Hundreds of thousands were maimed.

“Most of those exposed to the poison gas came from poor, working-class families, of which nearly 50,000 people are today sick to work. Among those who survived, many developed severe respiratory disorders, eye problems and other disorders. … 

The disaster was not an accident. UC had deliberately ignored the essential safety measures in order to cut costs. Much before the Bhopal disaster, there had been incidents of gas leak killing a worker and injuring several.” …

“24 years later, people are still fighting for justice: for safe drinking water, for healthcare facilities and jobs for the people poisoned by UC. They also demand that (Warren) Anderson, the UC chairman who faces criminal charges, be prosecuted.” …

“Government officials refused to recognize the plant as hazardous and allowed it to come up in a populated locality. When some municipal officials in Bhopal objected that the installation of an MIC production unit in 1978 was a safety violation, the position of the government was that the state needs the continued investment of the Bhopal plant, which provides jobs.” …
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  1. Lyle Courtsal May 17, 2012

    The chemical processes allowed at this plant in india were prohibited for use in the US.


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