New Yorker! Anthro 131

New Yorker! Anthro 131 - Kalvin Chiu ANT 131 Nov.1, 2010...

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Kalvin Chiu ANT 131 Nov.1, 2010 Lost in the Mist of MIC Everything changed on December 2 nd , 1984. The sleepy town of Bhopal, located almost directly in the center of India, awoke in the early hours of December 3 rd to a pungent aroma seeping through the neighborhood, filling lungs and burning eyes as it went. Residents fled, but for many of them, the physical damage had already been done. For the community of Bhopal, however, the hardship was only beginning. Late in the evening of December 2 nd , the Union Carbide pesticide plant severely malfunctioned and began to rapidly release methyl isocyanate (MIC). The wind took this toxic release directly toward the residential community of Bhopal, killing 2,000 people during the night. 10,000 people would die from the effects of the toxic MIC cloud within the first few days after the release; 20,000 would eventually die from exposure, making Bhopal by far the worst industrial disaster ever. Though they overshadow other industrial disasters, these statistics, like most relating to the Bhopal disaster, are debatable. Estimates for gas-affected survivors, for example range from 250,000 to 600,000. Lost in the argument over the statistics is the true human suffering that resulted for the disaster and lingers on more than five years after the gas has cleared. I had arranged to meet with a young woman to discuss the effects of the disaster, but upon my arrival in Bhopal, I learned that at 22 she had finally succumbed to her gas-related illnesses. She left me a poignant note, however, which began “Better Living Through Chemistry has been a deadly affair.” Perhaps unwittingly, she provokes an important question: Why did “Bhopal” happen?
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In the aftermath of the Bhopal gas-leak, Union Carbide stuck strongly to its “disgruntled worker” explanation. UCC blamed the disaster on a single, unnamed employee who had recently transferred to the plant, saying that it was his actions, specifically putting water into the MIC
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New Yorker! Anthro 131 - Kalvin Chiu ANT 131 Nov.1, 2010...

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