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Bhopal Tragedy UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • 39 years ago dec 2nd The Bhopal tragedy happens.

  • Survivors of the Bhopal gas leak disaster of 1984 continue to bear the brunt of contaminated groundwater as govt. promises remain unkept.

  • It was one of the greatest tragedies of the previous century.

  • A deadly methyl isocyanate leakage from the plant in 1984, killed 5,479 people, temporarily disabled 35,455, and injured over five lakh, as per government estimates. 

  • Over the years, studies have found groundwater in different residential areas outside the factory contaminated with heavy metals and other toxic substances, which could lead to cancer and other diseases. 

Bhopal gas leak disaster of 1984

  • The Bhopal gas leak disaster was a chemical accident that occurred on the night of December 2–3, 1984.

  • The Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. 

  • Over 500,000 people in the small towns around the plant were exposed to the highly toxic gas methyl isocyanate (MIC). 

  • An estimated 3,800 people died immediately, and 15,000–20,000 died over the following years

  • Over 500,000 people were injured, and many still suffer from health problems as a result of the exposure.

  • The cause of the disaster was a series of safety failures at the UCIL plant. 

  • In 1989, Union Carbide agreed to pay a compensation of $470 million to the victims of the disaster. 

  • However, the victims have said that the compensation is not enough, and they are still fighting for justice.

  • The Bhopal gas leak disaster is a reminder of the dangers of industrial accidents and the importance of safety regulations

  • It is also a reminder of the need to hold corporations accountable for their actions.

Methyl Isocyanate

  • Methyl isocyanate (MIC) is a highly toxic and reactive chemical compound with the formula CH3NCO. 

  • It is a colorless liquid with a pungent odor that is primarily used as a chemical intermediate in the production of carbamate pesticides, such as carbaryl, carbofuran, methomyl, and aldicarb.

  • These pesticides are commonly used in agriculture to control insects, nematodes, and fungi.

  • Due to its extreme toxicity and the potential for catastrophic accidents, the use of methyl isocyanate has been significantly reduced and subject to stringent safety regulations. 


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