Man Made Disaster – Toxic Gas Tragedy

What are Disasters:

Disasters don’t just happen, they are the result of a chain of events, locked together. Disaster is defined as an emergency situation causing wide spread destruction which far exceeds our ability to recover. Disaster is a very common occurrence to the human society. Though its form may be diverse, it has been a challenge for society across castes, creeds, communities and countries.

There are mainly two types of disasters –

1.               Man made disaster

2.               Natural disaster

Whatever may be the type of the disaster, it can occur at anytime and anywhere. This biggest problem and a very sad thing is the way a disaster occurs; they occur with swiftness and unexpectedness.

Man Made Disasters

These are mostly caused due to certain human activities. The disasters themselves could be unintentional, but are caused due to some intentional activity.  Most of these are due to certain accidents – which could have been prevented – if adequate precautionary measures were put in place.

Disaster Events

The Bhopal disaster,  also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a gas leak incident in India, considered one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. It occurred on the night of 2-3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited(UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. A leak of methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals from the plant resulted in the exposure of hundreds of thousands of people.

Visakhapatnam(Vizag) plant gas leak on Thursday yet again due to human error claimed 11 lives and left more than 1500 people sick. Andhra Pradesh government’s factory inspectors said that there could have been deviations in safety procedures during the lockdown period at South Korean company LG Polymers as the factory was shut.

People woke up in horror with breathlessness and a burning sensation in their eyes as the emission spread to adjoining Venkatapuram village at around 3:30 am. Some fell unconscious while fleeing, according to eyewitnesses. As many as 3,000 people were evacuated to safe places and at least 800 were admitted to various hospitals, according to initial reports.

Disaster after the disaster

Physical – Health effects: The gas cloud was composed mainly of materials denser than the surrounding air, stayed close to the ground and spread outwards through the surrounding community. The initial effects of the exposure were coughing, vomiting,  eye irritation and a feeling of suffocation. Many of the seriously affected survivors may go through such extensive lung damage that they may no longer be able to apply themselves.

Response Phase

This is the period that immediately follows the occurrence of the disaster. The ambulances and medical personnel arrive, remove the injured for transportation to medical camps or hospitals and provide first aid and life support.

Post disasters Preparations

It is during this time that the victims actually realize the impact of disaster. It is now that they perceive the meaning of the loss that they have suffered. During this phase they need resources and facilities  so as  to enable them to return back to their own homes, pursue their occupation, so that they can sustain their life on their own, as the help from the government and other non-government organizations is bound to taper in due course. This is called rehabilitation.

On the other hand we need to introduce a system of laws which will make them liable for higher standards of safety. Multinationals operating in India, must agree to a condition of doing business that they will submit to the jurisdiction of the Indian courts both civil and criminal. They must agree to be responsible for the acts of their subsidiaries and not disown them like rats leaving a sinking ship.

At the last we must remember – Prevention is better than cure.


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