Bhopal Gas Tragedy and Its Ethical Issues

3035 Words Jan 2nd, 2013 13 Pages


Bhopal Gas Tragedy was a gas leak incident in India, considered one of the world’s worst industrial catastrophes. It occurred on the night of the last year of 1984 at the Bhopal Union Carbide Corporation (Union Carbide India Limited – UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. A leak of methyl isocyanides gas and other chemicals from the plant resulted in the exposure of hundreds of thousands of people. It also causes environmental issues such as pollution of soil and water. The gas leak in India was caused by bad maintenance and failure of several safety systems to cut off the expenses.


Bhopal is a city in central India with population of 800,000
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However, by the end of the first year, Mr. Anderson told Business Week, “I overreacted. Maybe they, early on, thought we’d give the store away. [Now] we’re in litigation mode. I’m not going to roll over and play dead.”

Following the accident, Union Carbide’s stock fell 16 points and it became, in the go-go 80s, a takeover target. When GAF Corporation made an offer, Union Carbide incurred $3.3 billion in debt in order to buy 56 percent of its own stock to avert a takeover. Through 1992, Union Carbide remained in a defensive mode as it coped with litigation, takeover attempts, and the actions of the Indian government in seeking to charge officers, including Anderson, with crimes.

U.S. lawyers brought suit in the United States against Union Carbide on behalf of hundreds of Bhopal victims, but the case was dismissed because the court lacked jurisdiction over the victims as well as the plant. Union Carbide did settle the case with the Indian government for a payment of $470 million. There were 592,635 claims filed by Bhopal victims. The victims received, on average, about $1,000 each. The ordinary payment from the Indian government, as when a government bus harms an individual, is $130 to $700, depending upon the level of the injury. Individual awards were based on earning capacity, so, for example, widows of the Bhopal accident received $7,000.


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