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Union Carbide – Bhopal Disaster

Union Carbide – Bhopal Disaster


Since 1984, 20,000 people lost their lives in Bhopal, India after a chemical gas spill from a pesticide factory. More than 40 tons of methyl isocyante (MIC) gas created a dense cloud over a resident population of more than half a million people.

People woke in their homes to fits of coughing, their lungs filling with fluid. More than 8,000 people were killed in just the first few days following the leak, mainly from cardiac and respiratory arrest.

The chemical factory responsible for this disaster belonged to Union Carbide, which negotiated a settlement with the Indian Government in 1989 for $470 million – a total of only $370 to $533 per victim – a sum too small to pay for most medical bills. In 1987, a Bhopal District Court charged Union Carbide officials, including then CEO Warren Anderson, with culpable homicide, grievous assault and other serious offences. In 1992, a warrant was issued for Anderson’s arrest.

But justice has eluded the people of Bhopal for more than 20 years. Dow, since its merger with Union Carbide, refuses to assume these liabilities in India – or clean up the toxic poisons left behind.

Questions :

  1.  What are the ethical issues raised by the case?
  • Anderson, who had been imprisoned for a moment by the Indian government on charges of “negligence and criminal liability corporation”, has been devoting all his attention to the problem of the proliferation of company announcements about complete details negotations with government in India: they have rejected as inadequate around $ 200 million as compensation for the death of the $ 2,000 and injured 200,000 others, due in December 1984 by a poisonous gas leak of methyl isocyanate from a Union Carbide pesticide plant factory located in Bhopal, India.
  • The analysts predict that the company will be forced into bankruptcy. Ironically, the Union Garbide plant in Bhopal had been losing money for several years and Anderson had considered closing it.

2. Did the legal doctrine of “limited liability” apply to protect the shareholders of Union Carbide (US)?

Apply. But before the tragedy, the Indian subsidiary had been doing poorly. In an effortto contain annual losses of $4 million from the unprofitable plant, local company managers had initiated several cost-cutting programs.

  1. Were the Indian operations, which were being overseen by the managers of Union Carbide Corporation (U.S) in compliance with legal or moral or ethical standards?

Some other safety measures are not implemented and operating standards at the plant is not in accordance with the standards in the other Union Carbide plant. In addition, there is the possibility of safety measures are allowed as part of the “saving procedures” by the company at the factory. Thus the Union Carbide India was not running the operation according to the standard legal, moral and ethical because it does not perform the procedure well and has resulted in falling victim. They should pay more attention to procedures that do not harm others.


  • CHAIRUN NISA (21211606)
  • MELIN K. (24211418)
  • NURANNA AYU S. (25211339)
  • RESTY F.Y. DAULAY (28211088)

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