In class we watched the documentary about the Union Carbide Industrial disaster in Bhopal, India in 1984. According to Greenpeace, it has no parallel in human history. I was shocked when we watched the video because of the actual event, but also because I had never heard of this disaster before. I thought, “If I have never heard about the worst industrial disaster of all time, what other monstrous events am I missing?”
Should I know about these types of events from my own research? Should the media discuss topics of this manner more? Should I have learned about it in school or another class in college?
The question: Whose responsibility is it to spread information about this?
In this case, it is not just the unjust and heartbreaking nature of how it was dealt with, but also the horrendous ways Union Carbide, the Indian Government, and now Dow Chemical have dealt with it.
This got me thinking about other huge disasters that are unknown to me.
Here are few more I found:
Minamata Disease: Methylmercury was released into wastewater from Chisso Corporation in Japan from 1932-1968. Over 1,700 deaths occurred near Minamata Bay – exposure presumed from eating fish.
Benxihu Colliery: Coal dust explosion in an iron and coal mining project in Benxi, Liaoning, China in 1942. Japanese guards prematurely closed the entrance of the mine, locking in many workers. Initial press releases reported only 34 workers dying, when in reality 1,549 (34% of the miners working that day) were killed in the accident.
Rana Plaza Collapse: Structural failure in Dhaka, Bangladesh because of improper usage of a building and addition of building levels without a permit. Cracking was ignored by the building’s owners. Many were trapped in the rubble, but were eventually rescued. 1,129 were killed.
– Chelsea Walters