Enhance industrial safety standards

Exactly 30 years have passed since the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, but there are still no accurate figures available for the death toll, alleged an NGO working for the victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster. The NGO has also raised concern over the toxic waste lying in the defunct Union Carbide plant situated near the old Bhopal area.

A number of organisations working for the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy claim that they have compensated around 5,000 people affected by the gas leak but there are far more remaining; in fact, 25,000 have died since the tragedy and their families still need to be compensated.

The verdict on Bhopal Gas Tragedy came 25 years after poisonous gas leaked from the plant on the night of December 2-3, 1984. Activists say that for the people near the defunct factory, the tragedy is not over, as they still face air and water pollution, given that the hazardous waste lying in the factory was seeping into the ground.

Mumbai can learn lessons from Bhopal. It has to up its safety standards with reference to industries. Owners have to develop a stronger conscience with reference to society. It is ironical that so many business
houses are doing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives but are failing to look inwards and what is happening in their own industries.

Let the people and workers too become more aware of any possible hazards while working. Safety inspectors need to be more vigilant and have a robust approach to checking. There should be regular, surprise checks to see that safety standards are being adhered to and the workers and public are not going to be put at risk.

Very often, we see activists taking up cudgels against industry about water or air pollution, and even in the case of toxic leaks. It is not just activism but a strict system of checking and punitive action that must ensure that industries work hard to prevent any such accidents. They may not be in the scale of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, but even smaller in scale.

This is a city where air pollution is already high due to traffic, etc. Let us work to minimise all kinds of pollution, through every avenue.

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