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How did the Bhopal Gas Tragedy impact the chemical industry?

How did the Bhopal Gas Tragedy impact the chemical industry?

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy was a gas leak that occurred on 3rd December, 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.  

Over 500,000 people were exposed to the toxic Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas which seeped into the nearby towns.

This incident, considered to be one of the worst industrial disasters in the world, resulted in the deaths of 3,787 people and over 5.73 Lakh injured victims, several of whom were left severely and permanently disabled.

The government set aside over ₹3,000 crore to compensate victims. But because of their large numbers, each of them only got one-fifth of the amount due to them.

In fact, almost 4 decades later, many victims and their kin are still waiting to be compensated.

There was no law to protect victims of such disasters in 1989. However, things have changed since then.

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy gave momentum to the 1991 Public Liability Act, which made Public Liability Insurance mandatory for establishments handling hazardous chemicals.

Public Liability Insurance helps cover businesses’ legal liability to pay compensation to third parties for any bodily injury, disease, illness, accidental death or property damage caused to them due to accidents occurring on business premises.

This kind of liability insurance also covers the legal costs and other expenses incurred by the business for such incidents.

The 1991 Public Liability Act regulates this insurance policy for all business units dealing with hazardous substances, thereby ensuring immediate assistance to those affected by industrial accidents.

Public Liability Insurance is useful for non-hazardous business establishments as well. It helps them cover incidents where a customer or visitor might get hurt due to a fall, slip or any other accident.

This policy is ideal for those organizations that interact with their customers in-person such as hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, large office centres, etc.

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Further Reading

Learn more about what Public Liability Insurance covers