On the night of December 2nd, 1984, a gas leak occurred at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. The gas, methyl isocyanate (MIC), was released into the air and spread over the surrounding areas, causing widespread death and injury.
According to the Indian government, the disaster killed 3,787 people immediately and caused long-term health problems for thousands more. The gas leak also had significant environmental impacts, contaminating the soil and water in the area and leading to the loss of crops and livestock.
The cause of the gas leak was later determined to be a failure in the safety systems at the UCIL plant. An investigation revealed that the plant had inadequate safety measures in place and that the MIC storage tanks were not properly maintained. The disaster was exacerbated by the fact that the plant was located in a densely populated area, with many homes and schools in close proximity.
In the aftermath of the disaster, there was widespread outrage and calls for justice. The Indian government filed criminal charges against the then-CEO of UCIL, Warren Anderson, and several other company officials. Anderson was later declared a fugitive by the Indian government, and he died in 2014 without facing trial.
The Bhopal gas leak remains one of the worst industrial disasters in history, and it has had lasting impacts on the people and environment of Bhopal. The disaster has also served as a cautionary tale about the importance of safety measures and the need for companies to be held accountable for their actions.