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Bhopal Disaster Revisited [updated]

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the when-technology-fails dept.

Technology 810

On December 3, 1984, a chemical plant run by Union Carbide and located in Bhopal, India released about 40 tons of a toxic gas which was an intermediate chemical used in creating pesticides. (That is, the plant was in the business of creating chemicals deadly to life.) Safety at the plant had not been a concern of management; numerous safety systems were offline or non-functional. The gas cloud drifted over the city and killed thousands of people, and inflicted permanent injury to hundreds of thousands more. It was the worst industrial accident to date. Today, the site remains a contaminated wasteland, unusable and never cleaned up. The survivors have been minimally compensated, but as time passes, enough of them have died that compensation may now be in the works. Update: 12/03 15:51 GMT by M : Whoops, just kidding, the Reuters story linked there is wrong; the BBC was apparently hoaxed into putting a Dow spokesman on TV who wasn't actually a Dow spokesman. Dow has no plans to clean up the facility and no plans to compensate the survivors. Hope this clears things up.

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Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (5, Informative)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986209)

Yeah, except that the chairman of UC has been charged with culpable homicide in India, and declared a fugitive. But the US govt. has so far refused to let him be extradited for trial.

quick linux question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986251)

can anyone recommend a system for setting up a mail server under Linux, that will support multiple virtual domains and virtual users, AND does not rely on MySQL or LDAP (i.e. uses flat text files to store users)?

Re:quick linux question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986277)

+1 funny off-topic troll

Re:Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (5, Insightful)

MoxCamel (20484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986340)

Mod parent up please.

When you hear shit like "the terrorists hate our freedom," think of Bhopal. Around 3k people died on 9/11. In Bhopal, the lasting death toll is somewhere around 15,000. I wonder if Anderson would have been allowed to settle if 15,000 Americans had died.

Mod me down if you want, I have karma to burn. But I'd sure like to see some magnetic yellow ribbons to support the victims of US multinational homicide. Mox

Its 1 rule for the US , another for everyone else (-1, Flamebait)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986376)

Surely you've learnt that now? Hypocracy is one of the founding tenets of the US policy.

Re:Its 1 rule for the US , another for everyone el (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986415)

correction:

Surely you've learnt that now? Hypocracy is one of the founding tenets of the US [foreign] policy.

Re:Its 1 rule for the US , another for everyone el (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986511)

You think internal home policy is all above board then?

Re:Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (-1, Flamebait)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986391)

I disagree with modding your parent up. He through out an off-the-cuff comment with no reasoning. The goal here isn't to advance political views, it is to share information (at least I think, I'm probably wrong). I'm sure there is a little more to the issue than we just don't want this guy to go to jail or be executed or whatever India does. Few issues are really that simple.

Re:Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986425)

OK, buddy, take your own pill and get off your logical positivist ass. Then, after briefly noticing that your post itself contains no reasoning and no information, tell me exactly what more there is to the issue. As far as I can tell, it is that not only do we not want "this guy" to go to jail/take the ultimate penalty, but we don't want anyone else to either. Hardly profound.

Re:Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986428)

I'm sure there is a little more to the issue than we just don't want this guy to go to jail or be executed or whatever India does.

FYI, India has only had a couple of executions over the past 20 years .. and those were in special cases.

Re:Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986486)

Yeah, only America is allowed to kill it's own citizens.

Re:Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986343)

I knew America would get a jab in here somewhere. Didn't India ratify Kyoto? Looks like paper doesn't translate to action after all.

Re:Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (5, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986429)

I wasn't jabbing at America, I was jabbing at the lack of international justice in matters such as this.

A foreign company was responsible for large-scale devastation and deaths in thousands, and yet the management of the company get away scot-free.

Don't you think it's a little unfair? Swindling money and getting away with it (a la Enron) is one thing, but killing people and getting away with it is another.

Over 15,000 people were killed and thousands more have been scarred for life. The entire ecological system in that city is in ruins and there is no life or vegetation growing there.

There is something called responsibility for your actions. Just because you are a corporation does not excuse you from that. American or not.

Re:Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986487)

OK then, should we hold accountable the French and German companies that made the plants for WMDs that Iraq used to kill Tens of Thousands? WMDs are illegal under International Law, so someone should compensate the "victims", right? Wasn't this corporate greed by the EU? Corporate greed is not a 100% American trait.

Re:Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (3, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986503)

There is the concept of scapegoating at play here. Do you really thing that Anderson had anything personally to do with the actions that night? Even remotely indirectly it's a big reach.

What happened was a shame, and awful. An industrial disaster that was unmitigated in it's terror and destruction.

A nearly $500 million settlement was reached with the government of India to repair to extend possible. That's 1980's dollars, by the way. That's a lot of money in India.

A crime equally nasty is that the government in India has done virtually no good with that money.

Re:Dow-chem chairman Warren Anderson (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986469)

And the chairman should be brought to trial for what reason? It's horrible what happened, but he had nothing to do with the problem. It's not like he was telling the factory to cut corners and not to follow regulations.

He had probably never spoken to anyone at the site, ever. We're not exactly talking about a small company here.

On Regulation (5, Funny)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986217)

Fortunately, corporate ethics have progressed in leaps and bounds in the past twenty years. Today, the world can sleep soundly knowing that increasingly de-regulated industries have learned their lessons and would never risk innocent lives in the name of saving a buck.

Without the monumental advances in overcoming human nature since these dark times, we wouldn't even be considering shifting regulatory responsibility from the government to the private sector. Yea, we are truly blessed to live in such an enlightened age.

...so next time somebody talks to you about phasing out cumbersome government regulatory systems, remember: we are no longer the savage brutes we were in 1984. The corporations of the world understand now that there are more important things than the bottom line. They would never, ever, ever sacrifice the safety of the community to further their own economic gains...

fnord

Re:On Regulation (-1, Offtopic)

Rooktoven (263454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986241)

If I had mod points I'd give you +1 for Insightful Sarcasm.

You owe me buddy. (-1, Offtopic)

headkase (533448) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986261)

I think you just broke my sarcasm detector.
;)

Re:On Regulation (-1, Offtopic)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986268)

Why do I feel this will end up moderated (-1 too bloody subtle)

Re:On Regulation (1)

dextroz (808012) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986320)

Explains why Infineon Execs just got the book thrown at them... eh... mate? Not to mention outsourcing... for cheaper (quality) products is the way all corporates are going.

Re:On Regulation (0, Troll)

palion (172285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986330)

I completely agree. After all, most companies and countries have agreed that they have to reduce on greenhouse gases, they have to invest in alternative energies, they have to care for the social cost of their business much, much more. This is what makes me and many other people so optimistic about the future. The main problems are solved or at least there are plans underway to solve them.

Let's look forward to a bright future, which is good for both corporations and small people. A future which has education for all people, enough food for all, a clean environment for all and hope and health for all.

At least if they are Christians.

Otherwise let's bomb them back to the stone age.

Re:On Regulation (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986336)


Which is the exact same reason why libertaniarism would work so well. Let's do away with government and let the free market punish the guilty party, as thy punished UC into bankruptcy (NOT!).

Re:On Regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986407)

you give human nature too much credit...

people are still the same, the corporate greed that runs this world is still the same, corporations are still looking to save a buck at the expense of the little people -they are just being more clever about it, and they are still caught at it on occasion...

Re:On Regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986451)

What was the reason for the US invading Iraq now again? Can anyone please remind me?
It had nothing to do with corporations wanting to take part in "rebuilding" the country before it was even destroyed?
Iraq had a massive potential market that they wanted to exploit, lobbying and campaign "donations" were used to get them what they wanted.

Corporate interests has played a large role in nearly all US interventions since WW2.
Millions of people have been killed, directly or indirectly.

Economical power is political power.

Re:On Regulation (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986510)

Corporate interests has played a large role in nearly all US interventions since WW2.
Millions of people have been killed, directly or indirectly.

Economical power is political power.


Yes, the massive corporate interests in Korea and Vietnam!

LOL - what have they been teaching kids these days?

I shudder to think ... (3, Insightful)

YetAnotherName (168064) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986218)

... enough of them have died that compensation may now be in the works.

I shudder to think that this means that there are so few remaining survivors that a pay out is financially feasible for Union Carbide.

Re:I shudder to think ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986250)

Is your shaking related to seizures from inhaling the deadly gas?

Re:I shudder to think ... (1)

nels_tomlinson (106413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986416)

I shudder to think that this means that there are so few remaining survivors that a pay out is financially feasible for Union Carbide.

Well, it has been 20 years. I'd expect a fair number of them to have died in that period, accident or no. Remember, the affected area was a slum, full of poor people, with poor nutrition and healthcare.

As I recall, the management and engineers of the plant were Indian citizens: while corporate policy doubtless played a part, so did they.

Yes, it's unacceptable that Union Carbide followed the Indian norm and didn't do anything for the victims of its carelessness. It was Indian law which allowed that.

All that just so no one says: ``Heartless , irresponsible multinatinal.''

Re:I shudder to think ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986482)

Union Carbide already has paid $470 million dollars in compensation to the Indian government, which they have not distributed in full to the victims.

Not that I'm making apologies for Union Carbide, but the Indian gov't certainly doesn't seem to have done their part either.

The business of creating chemicals deadly to life (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986236)

These pesticide thingies sound evil. Are you also against antibiotics?

Re:The business of creating chemicals deadly to li (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986380)

Wording changes everthing.
Leader with compassion to his followers to defend against the terrorist.

V.S.

Dictator merclessly kills the revalutionaries.

which one will be in the history books. Well it depends on what side writes it.

Why is this on Slashdot? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986238)

Seems like Kuro5hin material to me.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (-1, Offtopic)

Rooktoven (263454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986264)

Stuff that matters. Science (with all its pros and cons) is always slashdot material.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986310)

Nowadays, "Slashdot material" usually falls under one of three categories:

BU$H IS DUMB

AMERIKKKA SUCKS

MICRO$OFT SUCKS

Please keep this in mind for all your future posts.

Thank you,
The Management

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (0, Troll)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986431)

So why isn't in the Science section? Note who posted this: Michael. This is just another case where Michael is using the Slashdot front page to rant. He's a big fan of corporation bashing.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986437)

If you think michael posted this because of the science aspect, you're out of your mind.

Sadly, the BBC was duped (4, Informative)

tagishsimon (175038) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986245)

Sadly, the Reuters story of Dow paying $12Billion is false. [smh.com.au]

Re:Sadly, the BBC was duped (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986266)

Fortunately, the BBC had the ethics to admit it's mistake.

Re:Sadly, the BBC was duped (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986352)

Should you rather be referring to the presence of spherical reproductive object commonly present in male anatomy?

Re:Sadly, the BBC was duped (1)

Anonymous Custard (587661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986495)

Michael, please adjust the headline - IT IS FALSE!

Just wait.. (1)

oexeo (816786) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986249)

> enough of them have died that compensation may now be in the works.

Just wait a short while longer, and they won't have to pay anyone

Re:Just wait.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986412)

Then in the end they can give the few survivors an insulting pittance - we might an even have a shameful ceremony like that one where the US government gave each of the Japanese American internment camp survivors a coupon for a free oil change at jiffy lube and a free small soda with purchase of a pizza bagel at the local mall.

(and yes I am fully aware that the Japanese government still have failed to recognize the "comfort women" and some of their politicos have claimed that the war crimes of imperial japan were exaggerated - those are their own ethical problems and divorced from those faced by the US)

gone bust (2, Insightful)

jdowland (764773) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986260)

So a corporation allows the boardmembers to escape ethical responsibility for their group actions, and when the brown stuff hits the fan the company goes bust and nobody is left responsible.

I think governments should be responsible for the actions of companies that belong to them - which implies companies must belong to a government. After all, the government(s) will be profiting from illegal acts via taxation.

Re:gone bust (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986299)

Welcome to the wonderful world of Corporate Personhood (tm). Companies can do what the hell they want, and no person is ever ultimately responsible.

Re:gone bust (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986440)

While you've clearly idenfitifed a flaw in the system, it is a system that has benefits as well. Its easy to condemn something when you only analyze one side of the issue!

Re:gone bust - instant karma gonna get you (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986430)

actually the question of who is really responsible in instances of corporate misbehaior is very interesting. in europe corporate directors are ultimately responsible for the actions of the companies they lead.

even in the event that such legislation was enacted in the us, you can be sure that it would be _very_ diffficult to convince a judge of malfeasance.

but the responsibility part is the one i like. in the bible (no i'm not religious, particularly) it mentions that the sins of the father shall be paid by the son (you get my drift). so the question i ask is (without reaching too far), does the justice required by death of 20,000 people get visited on the descendants of the corporate directors? in a christian, hindu, and buddhist sense that would be just.

Re:gone bust (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986438)

In socialist and communist countries where the state owns the corporation do you think this would be punished? Oh you might have the head of the company dealt with, but would people really get compensated. Not likely. How soon people forget the lessons of cold-war era Easter Block nations.

Re:gone bust (1, Insightful)

nosfucious (157958) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986484)

I think there are many reaons, Bhophal is just one, that the concept of "limited liability" has had it's day.

Sure, be a corporation. That's good for the banks, tax and writing cheques. But, full personal legal liability if you fark up. Pleasant side effect of stopping trusts and shelter companies from hiding assets.

Shareholders, workers and directors alike.

Would certainly make most people think twice about signing off on shonky practices. Someone must have made a decision to turn off, or cut maintenance to, inbuilt safety systems.

From memory (3, Interesting)

rhadamanthus (200665) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986274)

If I remember correctly, the facility was down due to a labor strike prior to the release. Water snuck into a methyl isocyanate (MIC) tank and caused the reaction which led to the gas leak. I think the labor strike had a lot to do with the safety systems being down.

Bullshit. (3, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986344)

If they didn't have enought people to run the plant they could have shut it down till the strike was over.

Blaming the strikers is just stupid as management made the decision to keep the plant running.

Re:From memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986427)

UC claims it was sabotoge from a disgruntaled employee, actually.

Not from your memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986443)

...rather, from your arse.

A Bob Rivers Twisted Tune comes to mind (-1, Flamebait)

TWX (665546) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986283)

"woooh, who blew that smell?"

Re:A Bob Rivers Twisted Tune comes to mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986461)

that was totally uncalled for

Dow got off light.... (2, Insightful)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986291)

"After a legal agreement the firm provided victims with compensation averaging $500 (£300)."

So that's what a life is worth to a multinational corporation?

Re:Dow got off light.... (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986445)

Depends, how far does that go in India?

Re:Dow got off light.... (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986449)

"After a legal agreement the firm provided victims with compensation averaging $500 (£300)."

So that's what a life is worth to a multinational corporation?


In India? Yes...

(Not that I agree, I do not.)

Wrong dept, comrade Michael (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986292)

numerous safety systems were offline or non-functional.

Technology didn't fail. People did.

Proof that capitalism is bad! (3, Insightful)

Greg@RageNet (39860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986295)

I can't believe we haven't realized that capitalism is bad, and all corporations are evil. Why can't we just have government, our savior, do everything for us. These sorts of disasters would never happen then.. Thinking of how caring and thoughtful communist governments are towards their people makes me glow green with envy... or is that just the residual radiation from the reactors at chernobyl...

-- Greg

Re:Proof that capitalism is bad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986457)

Why must everything swing between two extremes on Slashdot? If you criticise a corporation you're a Communist, if you criticise a Government you're a Capatilist Pigdog. What's your problem? Bhopal was an awful accident which could have been prevented. Dow Chemicals was at fault. I don't really care what your political bent is, in the time since the disaster Dows behavour and attitude towards the people affected has been ethically poor and they have failed to fulfil their moral obligation towards the people of Bhopal.

It's not a case of Government saving us or doing a better job. It's a simple case of one group of humans causing harm to a second group of humans. The Soviets failure to evacuate the area around Chernobyl and admit the reactor failure in good time is also a good example of this; they failed in their moral and ethical obligations.

In case you missed the subtext; kindly shove your partisian views up your bum and spin on them.

Re:Proof that capitalism is bad! (4, Insightful)

fuzzybunny (112938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986465)

Aaaand in this corner, the idiots come out of the woodwork.

When you, through negligence, ignorance, or malice, are responsible for something so heinous as to cause massive death and suffering to a large number of people, refuse to stand up for your actions, and have a government immorally protecting you from just punishment, you are shit. Walking excrement.

It has nothing to do with hating progress, capitalism, democracy, freedom, America, and my god won't somebody finally think of the children? Nobody is suggesting gas bombing the homes of animal researchers, or not funding stem cell research because it kills innocent gobs of discarded embryos. Nor is anyone advocating communism, or returning back to the fucking trees.

The actions, or failure to take them, of a company killed a large number of people and crippled others, in addition to causing a serious environmental disaster. Those in that company required both ethically and, in many countries, legally to take responsibility for such an action have not only been too spineless to face the consequences of their faulty leadership, but have even refused to compensate those whose lives their actions destroyed.

What would you think if Dow sent a cloud of dioxin gas over Hoboken? If IG Farben contributed directly to the deaths of a few thousand measly Jews? There's a reason for government relations to PREVENT this sort of thing, not circumscribe your precious freedoms to drop hunks of plutonium in neighborhod rivers, god forbid.

Ever heard of the phrase "the buck stops here"? Look it up. Your malformed opinions piss me off.

On Dec 3 2004 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986300)

On December 3, 1984, a chemical plant run by Union Carbide and located in Bhopal, India released about 40 tons of a toxic gas

Yeah well, On December 3, 2004, an Indian on a train run by the MTA and located in New York, NY released about 40 tons of a toxic gas on to the subway...or at least is smelled like that. It could have just been the curry.

Food for thought (4, Insightful)

fruity_pebbles (568822) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986309)

The Bhopal plant was jointly owned by Union Carbide and the Indian government, with the government owning 51%. The plant was run by Indian workers. Most of the deaths occurred not in the town of Bhopal, but in the shanty town that went up next to the plant after the plant was built.

Re:Food for thought (2, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986381)

Something I heard about this (sorry, I don't have a source) was that there could have been electronic/mechanical safegards in place, but because of Indian labor laws they weren't allowed. They didn't want computers/machines doing the jobs that humans could do.

You're a liar (0, Flamebait)

revscat (35618) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986409)

..and even Dow says as much:
[Reuters, 12/3/04] Today I am very, very happy to announce that today, for the first time Dow is accepting full responsibility for the Bhopal catastrophe; this is a momentous occasion. We have a $12 billion plan to finally at long last fully compensate the victims including the 120,000 who may need medical care for their entire lives and to fully and swiftly remediate the Bhopal plant site. We have resolved to liquidate Union Carbide, this nightmare for the world and this headache for Dow and use the $12 billion to provide more than $500 per victim, which is all that they've seen."
You must be a conservative. I can't imagine any other reason why you would lie that way other than to promote corporatism over democracy.

Re:You're a liar (1)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986504)

How's that crow? [smh.com.au]

Wow man, seriously. Put down the hate. It'll eat ya.

Re:Food for thought (4, Insightful)

Greg@RageNet (39860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986442)

We won't let your so-called 'facts' get in the way of our rampant corp-bashing here at slashdot.

This is why outsourcing is bad for america (2, Insightful)

Mr. McGibby (41471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986311)

I don't want to degrade the tragedy that these people have gone through.

However, this incident highlights that in America and the rest of the world where labor is given the respect and government protection that it deserves, companies that want to do business simply can't compete. How can any company who locates itself in a country with labor protections compete against companies that can simply *kill* their workforce by locating themselves in countries who turn a blind eye to such behavior.

The USA, and other countries with labor protection need to stop doing business with companies who take advantage of countries without proper protection. Why do we have labor laws when we allow and even *encourage* businesses to locate in places without them?

Legacy (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986322)

For those who won't RTFAs, from the last BBC slide [bbc.co.uk] , (at the risk of being modded redundant):

Up to 500,000 survivors still suffer symptoms such as paralysis, partial blindness and impaired immune systems.

Union Carbide accepted "moral responsibility" for the disaster. It later blamed sabotage by a disgruntled worker.

After a legal agreement the firm provided victims with compensation averaging $500 (£300).

The Indian government was paid for this accident (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986326)

Actually, the Indian government was awarded payment. Just reciently, because of civilian unrest, the indian government has decided to use some of those funds to clean up the area. So you see, it's a bit messed up from both perspectives.

New for Nerds? (-1, Troll)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986327)

Is this really news for nerds? Sorry to complain, but I really doubt it falls under the nerd category. Since it happened 20 years ago, is it even stuff that matters? My last complaint (sorry its Friday and I want to go home) is that I don't really think that this is technology that necessarily failed. I don't know a lot about this, but most technology includes safety features to prevent failures. If human's turn them off I call that human error rather than a failure of technology. Bah!

Who killed more Indians than Custer? (0, Flamebait)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986329)

Union Carbide!

Sabatoge (2, Interesting)

zburns (825795) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986345)

This story comes up every year. Sure, this was a tragedy, but several independent studies and investigations have been done to show that this was sabatoge. The introduction of water into the storage tank could have only been done by somebody with intimate knowledge of the procedures.

As bad as it was, it was good for india (2, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986355)

Hopefully their government will start to push for standards from companies that come and park in their counrty. I hope mexico sees this also as we are using them as whores for producing materials.

All we can do is hope that they take this tragedy and move towards standards of business and living that will move them towards a better life style.

Is it just me... (1)

Quixote (154172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986357)

or does anyone else find it strange that Union Carbide owns "bhopal.com" domain: link [bhopal.com] .

Question for you: how does the number killed in Bhopal compare with the number killed in 9/11 ?

15000 in Bhopal vs 3000 on 9/11 (0, Flamebait)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986496)

And the Bhopal disaster was a result of corporate greed, a bunch of greedy assholes got together and decided to play with the lives of thousands of people so that they could line their pockets with cash.

Unoin Carbide claims (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986359)

The leak was the result of sabotage [bhopal.com] .

factually wrong (4, Insightful)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986361)

here is a link [msn.com] with a recent article the disaster is believed to be the result of sabotage. Also, union carbide claned up most of the site and it is now in the hands of the Indian gov. In addition they paid hundreds of millions in compensation but almost all of it was lost in the government and the victims got nothing. There are far to many sides to blame. To call the story above wrong would be a gross understatement.

The question now (-1, Troll)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986364)

How do we blame Microsoft for it? Alternatively, what does it have to do with /. ? Not in the "politics" section even.

Also - I don't know whether Hiroshima counts as an "accident" but it was much worse.

Corporations are not people (3, Insightful)

scottennis (225462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986373)

There are two things you need to remember about corporations:
  1. They exist because they are legally entitled to exist.
  2. They exist to make money.
Therefore, they will do nothing unless they are legally compelled to do it, or unless it will make them money, either now or in the future.
See this movie. [thecorporation.tv]

Both sides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986394)

Kind of one-sided article. Anyway, before we all go off on tirades against Union Carbide, why don't you get their side of the story at http://www.bhopal.com/ [bhopal.com] . Essentially, Union Carbide claims the Indian government's report was hastily done and its conclusion that Union Carbide is liable is not supported by the evidence. UC tried to conduct their own investigation, but was locked out of their own facility for more then a year and denied access to witnesses by the Indian government. Union Carbide finally was able to release their own report, and concluded it was sabotoge by a disgruntled employee that caused the leak. The "fugitive" president went over to India soon after the accident to personally meet with the Indians. The Indian government arrested him, then let him leave.

Bottom line, get both sides, then make up your own mind.

Re:Both sides? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986447)

It would take one hell of a disgrunteled employee to shut down 3 safety systems and reduce the effectiveness of a 4th then get himself onto the cleaning rota (assuming that wasn't his normal job). Sounds like typical cover up BS to me. No one is saying the indian government is perfect but it was Union Carbides plant and so THEY were responsible for it. They were happy to accept the profits from it so they should accept the responsibility too.

Re:Both sides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986508)

but it was Union Carbides plant and so THEY were responsible for it

Did you read UC's report? It actually wasn't their plant, but a joint tventure between an Indian owned company and the Indian government. Someone mentioned this above.

Wow! +9000 Informative! (4, Funny)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986400)

which was an intermediate chemical used in creating pesticides. (That is, the plant was in the business of creating chemicals deadly to life.)

Wow. Thanks for that obscure factoid, Sparky. Pesticides kill things. Huh. Who knew?

I'm sure there's a clever comment to be had here about floods and dihydrogen monoxide here, but I'm far too weary.

Tragedy of immense proportions, with no end (3, Insightful)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986403)

This is not a story when technology failed..

This is a story of corruption, of not having any fail safe mechanisms or adequate safety measures, of negligence, of politicians willingly selling their souls and of those who they represent and of a system which failed to protect its own.

A thousand fingers could be pointed and in this horrible disaster, anywhere you point, you can find guilty who are still sheltered by the law, by the money they have willingly spent for their own defense and none for the people who suffered.

Union Carbide / Warren Anderson and Dow Chemical - Till now, they have chosen not to accept any form of responsibility and instead suggest sabotage. Union Carbide had spent a paltry sum before they agreed to pay 470 million of which hardly one third has been paid to its victims for the lack of any judicial oversight and sadly, corruption at the heart of the system. Even the 470 million that hopefully will be disbursed one day, hardly 2000 dollars will go to the families of those who died and 500$ to those who lost everything but their lives. Hardly a sum for the cost of a human life...

Union Carbide's response [bhopal.com] cleverly attempts to distance itself from the tragedy by calling the Bhopal plant owned by an indian firm. Clever, but it also serves to belittle the scope of this disaster and the lives that were snuffed out.

Would this be the same outcome if this had happened elsewhere, or in the developed world? And wouldnt a proper clean up in order or long completed if this were anywhere else.

Warren Anderson never saw the inside of a prison and still lives quite contently in Florida or NY and the US judicial system has done its part by denying the extradition requests by India. The Indian system on the other hand has comfortably chosen to neglect the cries for justice and has happily moved on..

Rediff.com [rediff.com] has a sombre look at the tragedy, its victims, those who were forgotten, and those who still suffer.

One more reason not to trust corporations..

Also no additional compensation is planned and Dow has not apologized or owned up to this tragedy as the last part of the slashdot post. It is a hoax and was unknowingly perpetrated by a BBC interview. Read the AP article first (it drips accountability which is the last thing Dow or any corporation would do)and the proof its a hoax [rediff.com]

Deadly to life... (1)

jordandeamattson (261036) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986420)

"That is, the plant was in the business of creating chemicals deadly to life.", so was this the disaster at the disinfectant or antibiotic plant?

Re:Deadly to life... (1)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986513)

You know what would be cool? A plant producing chemicals deadly to unlife. Zombicides, antivampirics, dispectrants, ghost repellants -- you name it.

Wishful Thinking... (0, Redundant)

danuary (748394) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986434)

The article about Dow accepting responsibility is a HOAX.

See here [msn.com] for more information or check Google News.

Dangers of Chemical Plants due to Terrorism (1)

internic (453511) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986454)

I was listening to NPR yesterday when one of the guests suggested that chemical plants would be a likely soft target for terrorists and could result in an disaster like Bhopal. He claimed that security at these plants is very lax compared to, say, a nuclear plant, making them a soft target. Given the severity of the Bhopal incident, this seems to suggest this is a very serious concern, and it is something else to take into account when thinking about chemical plant safety. It's not all just about accidents.

I'm not sure how much credence to give these claims. The discussion suggested that there are steps being taken to improve security at chemical plants, but the really serious, manditory ones were killed in congress in favor of less stringent, voluntary programs. I'd be interested if others who know more about the situation can offer some insight.

"Dow accepting full responsibility" was a hoax! (4, Informative)

zz99 (742545) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986455)

"BBC World said yesterday it was duped in an "elaborate deception" by a man who claimed to be a Dow Chemical Co spokesman and said the US company accepted responsibility for India's Bhopal disaster."

The story [smh.com.au]

Not to complain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10986462)

Now we have a Politics subject, shouldn't this fall under that? Technology seems a bit far found. Anyway, good to see this covered on Slashdot, keep up the good work guys!

This was on NPR this morning. (1)

jgarland79 (665188) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986467)

This was on NPR this morning. Click here for NPR story [npr.org] There is also an audio stream of the NPR news story

Ah...the old Chem. Eng. joke (2, Funny)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986468)

- What's the difference between doctors and chemical engineers?

- Doctors kill in ones.

Perspective on Indian Legal system... (2, Informative)

jordandeamattson (261036) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986470)

I just want to put the following quote: The survivors have been minimally compensated, but as time passes, enough of them have died that compensation may now be in the works. in the context of the Indian Legal system.

The Indian Legal system is notorious for the lack of speed with which the wheels of justice turn. Even for the smallest cases ten years from filing to final disposition is not unusual.

I recently read an article which discussed several cases from the 1950s that is still in the courts and still being fought.

Yours,

Jordan Dea-Mattson

30,000 lives (1)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986481)

The CBC [www.cbc.ca] has been doing a good job recently reminding people about the magnitude of this disaster. I just can't image things on the order of 30,000 lives -- other than war -- and apparently the effects continue even today.

This just reminds me of a sad truth: large companies operating in the third world see the people there are disposable. A settlement of $300 million for something of this scale is just sick (way way too small).

interesting to note... (2, Insightful)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986492)

Today's one of those days when you can really see the difference between what the rest of the world is talking about and what the US media is covering by looking at google news and comparing it to the US sites. No mention of this historic anniversary anywhere in the US media, but pretty clear it's weighing on the minds of people everywhere else.

But, you know, if Julia Roberts has twins...

to anyone who mentions DOW (3, Insightful)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986509)

everytime i hear DOW mentioned in this discussion it reminds me of how people can talk about something with almost no facts and jump to conclusions. The disaster was in 1984 at a union carbide plant. In 2001 DOW bough union carbide. Now, how is DOW to blame here?

worst? (1)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10986512)

It was the worst industrial accident to date.

Is that true?
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