The Bhopal Gas Tragedy|Business Ethics Case Studies
            

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy




Case Details Case Introduction 1 Case Introduction 2 Case Excerpts

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Introduction Contd...

The catastrophe raised some serious ethical issues. The pesticide factory was built in the midst of densely populated settlements. UCIL chose to store and produce MIC, one of the most deadly chemicals (permitted exposure levels in USA and Britain are 0.02 parts per million), in an area where nearly 120,000 people lived.

The MIC plant was not designed to handle a runaway reaction. When the uncontrolled reaction started, MIC was flowing through the scrubber (meant to neutralize MIC emissions) at more than 200 times its designed capacity. MIC in the tank was filled to 87% of its capacity while the maximum permissible was 50%.

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Background Note

MIC was not stored at zero degree centigrade as prescribed and the refrigeration and cooling systems had been shut down five months before the disaster, as part of UCC's global economy drive. Vital gauges and indicators in the MIC tank were defective. The flare tower meant to burn off MIC emissions was under repair at the time of the disaster and the scrubber contained no caustic soda. As part of UCC's drive to cut costs, the work force in the Bhopal factory was brought down by half from 1980 to 1984.

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