ethical issues involved in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy
The Bhopal gas tragedy can be analyzed using ethical codes from NSPE. The safety, health and welfare of the public is the most important point in every code of ethics. In case of Bhopal tragedy all of them were neglected. The poor quality of the facility and lack of many instruments were the reason for the leak. Two out of three main safety systems were unable to cope with the situations. The flare tower, water sprays for not functioning properly, a refrigeration unit designed to keep the methyl isocyanate cool and inhibit chemical reactions was shut down several months before the tragedy. The public were never given any information about MIC and safety measures. The location of the plant so close to the settlement is also one of the ethical question to be raised. Another point mentioned in NSPE is “Perform services only in areas of their competence”. The leak started after the wash out of a pipe that had not been sealed properly by a worker whose training did not meet standards and was ordered by the novice supervisors. This shows that lack of competent workers in the plant. It was also found that jobs were cut to reduce costs, training went down from 6 months to 15 days. The public were never told about the MIC and other chemicals. The infrastructure and medical facilities in the city was never prepared for the tragedy of that scale. “Avoid Deceptive Acts” is another code of ethics in NSPE. The Bhopal plant was inspected by the parent company and a critical report was filed. But the necessary maintenance and improvements were never made because of company’s cost-cutting campaign and making saving money priority. After the disaster, the Unions Carbide denial for responsibility and stating the tragedy was due to human error in the factory shows Unions Carbide and its management lacking to conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically and lawfully.