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THIS DAY IN HISTORY

2nd December 1984: The Bhopal gas tragedy took place

India marks National Pollution Control Day on December 2 in the honour of people who lost their lives during the horrific 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The gas leak accident led to the loss of lives of thousands of people, exposing lakhs to harmful toxic effects in the time to come.

The theme for National Pollution Control Day 2020 sheds light on the goal to raise awareness towards the cause of pollution, and to remind people about the different ways to reduce pollution.

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy, or known as the Bhopal disaster, took place on the night of December 2-3 in the year 1984. The Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, led to the accidental gas leak, releasing methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas. The toxic gas spread to small towns and nearby villages. In the days to follow, as many as 5 lakh people were exposed to the gas, and more than 3700 people died due to the disaster.

What is Methyl isocyanate?

Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) is a chemical that is used in the manufacture of polyurethane foam, pesticides, and plastics. It is handled in liquid form which can be easily burned and explosive. It evaporates quickly in the air and has a strong odour. Its molecular formula is CH3NCO or C2H3NO and its molecular weight is approx. 57.05 g/mol. It is used in the production of pesticides, polyurethane foam, and plastics.

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