On August 11, 1985, a135 people were sent to the hospital due to a chemical leak at a Union Carbidefacility, in West Virginia, just 115 days after that devastating day in Bhopalthat killed 4,000 people and permanently disabled 17,000. Furthermore, UCILwaged a protest prior to the accident in Bhopal concerning the installation of15,000-gallon storage tanks which posed a safety hazard. Union Carbideinstalled the tanks anyway. Not to mention that there were no safety measuresimplemented for the possibility of an accident. Such as green-belts, evacuationplans, early warning systems etc. The community in Bhopal had no idea that theplant they were living on top of holdingsuch a risk, including the medical professionals who had no idea how to treatthe exposed individuals. In fact, many other smaller facilities that containedhazards to a community were moved to remote locations.
In 1982, a safety auditwas conducted at Bhopal where many safety issues were cited. However, there isno record of the safety issues being fixed. Despite Union Carbide knowing whichprocedures and antidotes could help the infected, the medical professionals hadnever been told to give the antidote for cyanide poisoning, or for the victims tobreathe through a wet towel.
With this information, an untold number of livescould have been saved. This record exhibits Union Carbide’s unequivocal guiltand I would give the company an F forfailing to be a good company ethically, legally, and socially responsible. (Bowonder) The trial regarding the Bhopal catastrophe was acatastrophe. If developing countries can be taken advantage of by corporationsand MNCs it is the job of the country the corporation comes from to police.Developing countries do not have a government, legal system, money, orinfrastructure established enough to protect thepeople of their nation from the power anMNC can bring to bear. We must respect the people of the nation that is harmedhowever if their legal system or government is not able to gain thecompensation and help they deserve after being victimized it is theresponsibility for our nation, as the nation from which Union Carbide came from,to give them justice.
Dow Chemical has every legal, ethical, and socialresponsibility to not only help the victims of Bhopal but to clean the site ofany hazardous chemicals. The U.S. and Indian governments both have laws thatstate the polluter pays to have the site cleaned. The responsibility ofhazardous sites is sold with the rest of the company so when Dow Chemicalbought Union Carbide they took responsibility for returning the site to livableconditions. Not to mention that Union Carbide agreed to return the land to whatit was before. Dow has protested that Union Carbide settled the claim for 470 millionwhich was only 3.
3% of the original claim and only leaves the survivors with$550 each. Not to mention that only half of the families that survived havebeen identified and received their due compensation. Many lessons can be learned from Bhopal.
Such as anemergency plan that is known to the whole community and practiced. All medicalprocedures needed to treat any outbreaks or poisonings. Engaging the public inrisk management and acceptance of all the dangers.
Changing and downsizing thestorage containers and policies of hazardous substances. Substituting hazardouschemicals with safer alternatives. Establishing safety measures for plants thatuse hazardous materials, such as greenbelts, early warning systems, and evacuation plans. Developing methods to assess and mitigate any outbreak of hazardouschemicals. Evaluation of measures put in place to alleviate the gravity of anaccident. Maintaining the integrity and health of all equipment. However, mostimportant of all would be for the government and country a corporationoriginates to police and execute justice.