BP-Gulf; Union Carbide-Bhopal

Just couldn’t let the news of the Bhopal trial results go by without saying something…26 years after the accidental release of toxins into the atmosphere of Bhopal, India–an accident that resulted in the death and illness of thousands of people, those deemed responsible have received, as one Indian commentator put it, “a punishment equivalent to that for a traffic violation.”

Union Carbide, long since absorbed by Dow Chemical, is no more. There is no one–and no entity–left to assume true liability for this mega-disaster.

In light of the oil spill still going on in the Gulf, I can only wonder who will take long-term and appropriate responsibility for the BP accident. Will it be 2035 before we see the final legal settlements over this latest mega-disaster?  And, will it come so far removed from the actual event that public outcry over insufficient legal outcomes will be defused? Think about it, if you have children who are in college, they probably don’t even know what “Bhopal” meant to us more than two decades ago. Even 30 or 40 year olds may be unfamiliar with that awful accident.

Doesn’t the public deserve timely judicial response to these acts of violence against our shared environment? While these accidents were certainly not intentional, we are all victims and deserve legal redress before we can no longer remember how to spell “Bhopal” or what the initials “BP” stand for.

In case you forgot–or were too young or not yet born at the time–

Or check out the Wiki entry on the disaster.

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4 Comments on “BP-Gulf; Union Carbide-Bhopal”

  1. Sarah Harris says:

    The BBC reported yesterday that 8 people have been sentenced to 2 years in jail each in conjunction with the disaster. You can read more here:

    Also check out last year’s speical edition of Himal Southasian, an English language news magazine with pan South-Asian coverage:

  2. Dale Howard says:

    Are we not part of Evolution? If we kill our planet will we not die out? And another intelligent being may evolve beyond us?
    I don’t think we will be the end of evolutionary intelligence. Someone will come beyond us, that will not allow this type of thing to happen, or not need it to happen?
    Dale Howard, in Atlanta

    The dolphins may already be more intelligent, or the whales, than are we? But they are at our mercy, in some ways, but this does not make them less intelligent. Dinosaurs and other prehistoric carbon based species are the basis for the oil that is not killing the Gulf.

  3. Ellen Rocco says:

    And now, the oil moves onto Alabama and Florida coastlines…and scientists and vets try to save rare turtles, as well birds, fish, dolphins…
    to hear tonight’s NPR piece on the turtle rescue, go here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127747646

  4. I’m getting increasingly uncomfortable seeing the way the US government and media are treating BP. Their reaction would be a whole lot more honest if they had a track record of holding US companies operating overseas to a similarly high standard and if they strongly pursued those companies when they cause harm or injury.

    The increasingly hysterical reaction of the US against BP is looking to me like an alcoholic getting angry when the distillery blows up. Surely the bigger message of this leak is that the whole Industrialised world needs to heavily invest in renewable, green energy so that we can protect our environment AND stop haemorrhaging money to regimes and cultures which are hostile to our freedom and security.

    The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is obviously a terrible environmental accident. It’s entirely understandable that the people and authorities are upset and want those who made the mistake to put it right. Those responsible for the mess should clean it up and pay for it. That’s fine, but it is increasingly looking like the US government is deliberately trying to make political capital out of scapegoating a British company and opportunistically running it down for the benefit of American companies.

    Why are they not equally holding responsible other parties- the American Drilling company, Halliburton and the US regulatory authorities?
    Why do they not let all hell break loose when it is an American company causing an environmental disaster in another country? Do you remember Union Carbide’s killing and disabling hundreds of thousands of people in Bhopal, India? They did their very best to wriggle out of responsibility as much as they could- frankly because they didn’t value Indian lives as much as Americans and because India was a weaker country. So how does that compare to their extreme attacks on BP? American beaches and fish are worth much more than hundreds of thousands of Indian humans. Sad but true.

    Will the US be aggressively running down their own companies in future overseas accidents? I doubt it.

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