Corporate and Governmental Responsibilities for Preventing Chemical Disasters: Lessons from Bhopal

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Abstract

In the evening of December 2 nd, 1984, a series of unfortunate events led to 43 tons of methyl isocyanate being vaporized and spread over the city of Bhopal in central India. The accident, which continued throughout the early hours of December 3 rd, resulted in the deaths of several thousand people and left hundreds of thousands more with permanent injuries. The Bhopal toxic leakage is widely regarded as the largest chemical industrial disaster in the world. It is also one of the most publicly scrutinized disasters, leading to vivid evidence about the threat to public health posed by the chemical production industry. This paper argues that Union Carbide Corporation, through its local subsidiary Union Carbide India Limited, as well as the governments of India and Madhya Pradesh, are those who were most accountable for the leakage. Furthermore, the paper shows that several ethical rules such as: the Golden Rule, the human rights to safety, the precautionary principle, and the principles for a sustainable society were violated. In the final sections, the paper discusses the measures that should be taken to prevent future exposure to toxic chemical substances which may occur due to accidents at chemical production facilities.

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Detaljer

In the evening of December 2 nd, 1984, a series of unfortunate events led to 43 tons of methyl isocyanate being vaporized and spread over the city of Bhopal in central India. The accident, which continued throughout the early hours of December 3 rd, resulted in the deaths of several thousand people and left hundreds of thousands more with permanent injuries. The Bhopal toxic leakage is widely regarded as the largest chemical industrial disaster in the world. It is also one of the most publicly scrutinized disasters, leading to vivid evidence about the threat to public health posed by the chemical production industry. This paper argues that Union Carbide Corporation, through its local subsidiary Union Carbide India Limited, as well as the governments of India and Madhya Pradesh, are those who were most accountable for the leakage. Furthermore, the paper shows that several ethical rules such as: the Golden Rule, the human rights to safety, the precautionary principle, and the principles for a sustainable society were violated. In the final sections, the paper discusses the measures that should be taken to prevent future exposure to toxic chemical substances which may occur due to accidents at chemical production facilities.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftHyle - International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry
Volume/Bind24
Tidsskriftsnummer1
Sider (fra-til)29-53
Antal sider25
ISSN1433-5158
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2018
PublikationsartForskning
Peer reviewJa
ID: 273124531