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The Bhopal Gas Disaster - Case Study Example

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The paper "The Bhopal Gas Disaster" discusses that the incident occurred on 3 December 1984 and more than 2,259 people died within hours. The plant that produced a pesticide released a raw material, methyl isocyanate, which is acidic and harmful both to people and to construction materials…
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The Bhopal Gas Disaster
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Download file to see previous pages In the incident, a toxic gas called methyl isocyanate (MIC) weighing around 42 tonnes was released into a city with a population estimated at 500,000 people. The incident was devastating: the immediate death toll was 2,259 people. Generally, it is estimated that 8,000 people died in the first two weeks and more than 8,000 died later from gas-related complications. It is believed this is the worst industrial incident of the recent past.
The Union Carbide India was a company that produced carbonyl pesticide, which is an intermediate product of methyl isocyanate. The methyl isocyanate is a toxic material but cheaper compared to other raw materials that could have been used. However, the chemical involved in this incident was a combination of water and the toxic methyl isocyanate. On the night of the incident, it is believed that water entered tank 610 that contained 42 tonnes of the toxic methyl isocyanate. The reaction between water and the gas was exothermic (an increase in temperature resulted) producing temperatures of more than 200°C. This resulted in the pressure rising to a level that the tank could not contain. Usually, there is an emergency venting function that controls temperature. Thus, after the increase of the pressure, the emergency venting released the pressure to try to maintain the appropriate pressure in the methyl isocyanate holding tank. In so doing, it released a lot of the toxic gas. The reaction that occurred was sped up because of the presence of corroding iron steel pipelines within the vicinity. It resulted in massive amounts of poisonous gases been released into the Bhopal which in turn resulted in many people waking up with burning sensation in their lungs.
There are many theories that try to determine the origin of the water that entered holding tank 610. One of the theories was that workers cleaning the industrial establishment might have contributed to the presence of water in tank 610. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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