Bhopal Disaster of 1984

By Caroline Loverud T1


In 1969, the plant opened in Bhopal, India. It started to release pesticide carbaryl. Ten years later, the plant produced methyl isoccyanate, (MIC) which was a cheaper but more toxic substance used in the making of pesticides. MIC is extremely toxic and can have bad affects on the eyes and lungs.
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In 1969, the plant opened to produce a substance used in pesticides. No one knew that it ten years later it would kill at least 15 thousand people and injure hundreds of thousands people.

December 2nd 1984

On December 2nd 1984, at 10:30 pm the MIC gas started to leak. Unfortunetly, the main warning siren didn't go off for another two hours. It was also quickly turned off because workers wanted to reduce the amount of panic. The first effects were immediate. Gas clouded Bhopal. Residents were awakened to a "blinding, vomiting, lung-searing hell" as Tony Long described the disaster. All of the people in Bhopal became very panicked. This resulted in a stampede, that killed hundreds of people. By the end, 40 tons of MIC gas had leaked. An exact number of deaths has never been established although municipal workers claimed to have cleared at least 15 thousand dead bodies right after the leak. Others died from choking, and some died in their beds. Others were rushed to the hospital, but later died there. Most of the people died from respiratory failure.
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At 10:30 p.m. the plant started to release 40 tons of MIC that quickly spread around a city of 900 thousand people.

After the Disaster

An estimated number of 200 thousand to 600 thousand still have injuries today. Some victims are blinded. Most of the survivors still have respiratory problems even years and years later. Today, there are higher rates of cancer and diseases in the liver, the central nervous system, and the kidneys. Also, there are kids who have birth defects, and women with reproductive disorders. After a big legal fight, Union Carbide paid 470 million dollars in a settlement in 1989. The Bhopal Disaster was beyond tragic. More than 15 thousand people died and many victims still have injuries today. The Disaster will always be remembered and never forgotten.

Did you know?

1) The leak started when large amounts of water entered the tank causing the MIC to reach 392 degrees. Therefore, the pressure rose and the tank could not take the pressure causing the leak.

2) Not only people died form the Disaster but many animals died too. An estimated 2 thousand animals had to be disposed of the next day.

Work Cited

December 3, 1984: Bhopal, 'Worst Industrial Accident in History' By Tony Long

The Bhopal Disaster and its aftermath: a review By Edward Broughton

Bhopal Accident

Bhopal Disaster By Steven GIlbert