On This Day, Dec. 3, 1984 – Bhopal Gas Leak Kills Thousands

bhopal-gas-verdict4-day

1984 – In Bhopal, India, more than 2,000 people were killed after a cloud of poisonous gas escaped from a pesticide plant. The plant was operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary.

Over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other chemicals. The toxic substance made its way in and around the shanty towns located near the plant.

Estimates vary on the death toll. The official immediate death toll was 2,259. The government of Madhya Pradesh confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. Others estimate 8,000 died within two weeks and another 8,000 or more have since died from gas-related diseases.

A government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial injuries and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries.

The cause of the disaster remains under debate. The Indian government and local activists argue slack management and deferred maintenance created a situation where routine pipe maintenance caused a backflow of water into a MIC tank triggering the disaster. Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) contends water entered the tank through an act of sabotage.

Civil and criminal cases were filed in the District Court of Bhopal, India, involving UCC and Warren Anderson, UCC CEO at the time of the disaster. In June 2010, seven ex-employees, including the former UCIL chairman, were convicted in Bhopal of causing death by negligence and sentenced to two years imprisonment and a fine of about $2,000 each, the maximum punishment allowed by Indian law. An eighth former employee was also convicted, but died before the judgement was passed.


1818 – Illinois was admitted as the 21st state of the union.

1833 – Oberlin College in Ohio opened as the first truly coeducational school of higher education in the United States.

1835 – In Rhode Island, the Manufacturer Mutual Fire Insurance Company issued the first fire insurance policy.

1910 – The neon lamp was displayed for the first time at the Paris Motor Show. The lamp was developed by French physicist Georges Claude.

1917 – The Quebec Bridge opened for traffic after almost 20 years of planning and construction. The bridge suffered partial collapses in 1907 (August 29) and 1916 (September 11).

1931 – Alka Seltzer was sold for the first time.

1947 – The Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire” opened at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theater.

1950 – Paul Harvey began his national radio broadcast.

1967 – In Cape Town, South Africa, a team of surgeons headed by Dr. Christian Barnard, performed the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky. Washkansky only lived 18 days.


20th-3

1967 – The famed luxury train, “20th Century Limited,” completed its final run from New York to Chicago.


1968 – The rules committee of Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that in 1969 the pitcher’s mound would be lowered from 15 to 10 inches. This was done in order to “get more batting action.”

1969 – John Lennon was asked to play the title role in “Jesus Christ, Superstar.” The offer was revoked the next day.

1973Pioneer 10 sent back the first close-up images of Jupiter. The first outer-planetary probe had been launched from Cape Canaveral, FL, on March 2, 1972.

1987 – President Ronald Reagan said there was a good chance of progress toward a treaty on long-range weapons with Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

1992 – The UN Security Council unanimously approved a U.S.-led military mission to help starving Somalians.

1992 – The Greek tanker “Aegean Sea” ran aground at La Coruna, Spain and spilled 21.5 million gallons of crude oil.

1993 – Britain’s Princess Diana announced she would be limiting her public appearances because she was tired of the media’s intrusions into her life.

1993 – Angola’s government and its rebel enemies agreed to a cease-fire in their 18-year war.

1994 – Rebel Serbs in Bosnia failed to keep a pledge to release hundreds of UN peacekeepers.

1997 – In Ottawa, Canada, more than 120 countries were represented to sign a treaty prohibiting the use and production of anti-personnel land mines. The United States, China and Russia did not sign the treaty.

1999 – Tori Murden became the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean alone. It took her 81 days to reach the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe from the Canary Islands.

1999 – The World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded a four-day meeting in Seattle, WA, without setting an agenda for a new round of trade talks. The meeting was met with fierce protests by various groups.

1999 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) lost radio contact with the Mars Polar Lander as it entered Mars’ atmosphere. The spacecraft was unmanned.

2010 – The Boeing X-37 returned to Earth on successfully after its first orbital mission. It launched on April 22, 2010.

 

Source: On-This-Day.com; Wikipedia.org