Judiciary Exams Exam  >  Judiciary Exams Notes  >  Civil Law for Judiciary Exams  >  Environmental Considerations of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Environmental Considerations of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy | Civil Law for Judiciary Exams PDF Download

Introduction

  • Background of the Bhopal Gas Leak Tragedy: The Bhopal Gas Leak Tragedy, a catastrophic event that occurred 22 years ago, remains a haunting memory in the nation's history. The incident resulted in the loss of numerous lives, both among workers and innocent civilians, overnight.
  • Impact on Environment and Generations: Following the tragedy, extensive investigations conducted by the government of Madhya Pradesh and the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEEI) revealed that the environmental repercussions persist to this day. The contamination of elements like water and soil continues to affect multiple generations of individuals who were exposed on the fateful night of December 3, 1984.
  • Health Effects and Genetic Impairment: The chemicals released during the gas leak had severe repercussions on the victims' bloodstreams and respiratory systems. Additionally, these substances caused genetic impairments that have had lasting effects on the affected individuals and their descendants.
  • Continuing Ramifications: Reports indicate that the contamination caused by the gas leak has persisted over the years, highlighting the enduring impact of the tragedy on both the environment and the health of those exposed.

Facts

  • The factory obtained a license in 1969 to produce methyl isocyanate for making the pesticide Sevin instead of importing it.
  • The raw materials for Union Carbide's manufacturing process included monomethyl amine (MMA), phosgene, chloroform, and carbon monoxide.
  • Despite the hazardous nature of the chemicals used, the factory was located in a densely populated area and lacked advanced security systems.
  • On December 3, 1984, a tragic incident occurred at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, releasing a deadly amount of MIC into the atmosphere.
  • The toxic gas spread over a 40km radius, causing severe harm to thousands of people within a few hours.
  • Victims experienced symptoms such as coughing, breathlessness, blood vomiting, eye problems, and digestive issues.
  • The disaster was triggered by loose valves, faulty equipment, and a water entry into tank 610, leading to a catastrophic reaction.

Question for Environmental Considerations of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy
Try yourself:
What was the cause of the Bhopal Gas Leak Tragedy?
View Solution

Environmental Repercussions of the Gas Tragedy

  • The government was blamed for allowing a highly risky project to proceed, as Union Carbide's MIC plant had a history of safety issues.
  • Reports from various studies confirmed elevated levels of contamination in groundwater and soil due to harmful chemicals.
  • In 2004, the Supreme Court revealed severe environmental contamination, especially in groundwater, due to negligent waste management practices.
  • Contamination of drinking water and soil occurred primarily because of continuous discharge of chemicals like Sevin, impacting irrigation systems.
  • Severe health effects, such as disabilities and reproductive system damage, were observed in the affected population.
  • Chemicals from UCIL plant's waste ponds seeped into groundwater, affecting drinking water sources in nearby villages.
  • Residents, especially those living in bastis near the factory, faced the brunt of contamination due to lack of access to clean water sources.
  • The Supreme Court mandated the supply of clean drinking water to affected communities, but the government's response was inadequate.
  • Health surveys revealed high usage of contaminated hand pumps, leading to various health issues among residents.
  • Chemical contamination was also found in breast milk samples, affecting menstrual cycles and overall health of individuals.
  • Transfer of Cases: Union Carbide Corporation faced legal consequences in the US Courts, and all cases were moved to Indian Courts for resolution.
  • Legal Actions in India: Various lawsuits were filed in India seeking compensation for the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
  • Public Interest Litigation (PIL): A PIL known as Charanlal Sahu v Union of India was filed in the Supreme Court to demand compensation for the victims.
  • Concept of Absolute Liability: In the case of M.C. Mehta v Union of India, the judiciary introduced the concept of "Absolute Liability" while interpreting the Bhopal Gas Leak incident.
  • Criminal Proceedings: Criminal proceedings were initiated in the Bhopal magistrate court based on charges of negligence leading to death, endangering lives, and common intention.
  • Legislative Impact: The Bhopal tragedy led to the enactment of the Public Liability Insurance Act, mandating companies to provide compulsory insurance for employees. Additionally, it spurred the introduction of the Nuclear Liability Bill to address nuclear accidents.

Question for Environmental Considerations of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy
Try yourself:
What was the legislative impact of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy?
View Solution

Conclusion

  • The Bhopal gas leak has left a profound and distressing mark on Indian history, prompting significant legal developments aimed at enhancing the well-being of workers in such industries. These incidents have not only had detrimental effects on the environment, including contamination of groundwater and soil, but have also caused lasting genetic alterations in the survivors of the tragedy. The hazardous gas released and inhaled during the incident resulted in tragic consequences, with many fatalities and severe injuries, including complete respiratory failures. The inadequate availability of hospital beds, medical assistance, and minimal compensation for affected families exacerbated the challenges, with numerous victims not even accounted for.
  • Addressing these issues comprehensively is imperative at present. The legislations introduced following the incident must be effectively implemented and enforced by law enforcement agencies. Various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) persist in advocating for justice and addressing the repercussions of this tragic event. While industries have improved their adherence to environmental compliance policies, and environmental laws have become more stringent, the primary loophole remains the lack of proper implementation.
The document Environmental Considerations of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy | Civil Law for Judiciary Exams is a part of the Judiciary Exams Course Civil Law for Judiciary Exams.
All you need of Judiciary Exams at this link: Judiciary Exams
253 docs|259 tests

Up next

FAQs on Environmental Considerations of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy - Civil Law for Judiciary Exams

1. What were some of the environmental repercussions of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy?
Ans. Some of the environmental repercussions of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy included soil and water contamination, impact on local wildlife, and long-term health effects on the surrounding community.
2. What were some of the legal battles faced by Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) in relation to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy?
Ans. UCC faced legal battles related to criminal charges, civil lawsuits, and compensation claims for the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
253 docs|259 tests
Download as PDF

Up next

Explore Courses for Judiciary Exams exam
Signup for Free!
Signup to see your scores go up within 7 days! Learn & Practice with 1000+ FREE Notes, Videos & Tests.
10M+ students study on EduRev
Related Searches

Summary

,

Objective type Questions

,

Viva Questions

,

Environmental Considerations of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy | Civil Law for Judiciary Exams

,

Free

,

study material

,

Sample Paper

,

Semester Notes

,

Exam

,

ppt

,

Previous Year Questions with Solutions

,

past year papers

,

practice quizzes

,

shortcuts and tricks

,

Important questions

,

Extra Questions

,

video lectures

,

mock tests for examination

,

pdf

,

MCQs

,

Environmental Considerations of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy | Civil Law for Judiciary Exams

,

Environmental Considerations of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy | Civil Law for Judiciary Exams

;