Union Carbide's Bhopal Disaster

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Union Carbide 's Bhopal Disaster
In 1984, as if in a nightmare, a cloud of poison gas reached out and snuffed the lives of thousands of people in the sleeping city of Bhopal, India. The residents awoke to a terrible disaster, a chemical explosion whose memory could never be erased. At the center of the tragedy was the Union Carbide pesticide plant, and surrounding the accident were doubts and accusations of negligence and unethical practices.
The Disaster
On December 3, 1984, one of the world 's worst chemical disasters occurred at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. Forty tons of vaporous methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas exploded, releasing a toxic mixture of MIC, hydrogen cyanide, monomethyl amine, carbon monoxide, and
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11). Author David Weir quoted a United Nations official who wished to remain anonymous when he said,
Even those companies that say they will maintain the same standards as in the developed world find it difficult to resist the temptation to take a shortcut. Even if they have a good design for their plant, however, there 's no good infrastructure in the underdeveloped countries. Even if they put it away from population centers, who will check and control that the people don 't come in around it? (Newton & Dillingham, 2002, p. 90).
Had Union Carbide exercised more responsibility and ethics from the very beginning, perhaps the Bhopal disaster would have been avoided.
Preventing Future Disasters
The Bhopal accident served as a wake-up call for the chemical industry (Lang, 1984, para. 23). In response, the Chemical Manufacturers Association created a program called Responsible Care®, "the chemical industry 's commitment to the continuous improvement of environmental, health, safety and security performance" (Overview, 2004, para. 1). Jeff Lipton, chief executive of Nova Chemicals Corp stated, "When the average person thinks about chemicals, they think about risks and hazards instead of benefits" (Herrick, 2003, para. 9). Responsible Care® addresses those concerns by implementing the following practices: (Overview, 2004, para. 2):
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