Bhopal gas tragedy among world's 'major industrial accidents' of 20th century: UN report

Update: 2019-04-20 18:15 GMT

United Nations: The 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy which killed thousands of people is among the world's "major industrial accidents" of the 20th century, a UN report has said, warning that 2.78 million workers die from occupational accidents and work-related diseases each year.

The report released by the UN labour agency International Labour Organization (ILO) said in 1984, at least 30 tons of methyl isocyanate gas, which was released from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in the Madhya Pradesh capital, affected more than 600,000 workers and nearby inhabitants.

"The Government figures estimate that there have been 15,000 deaths as a result of the disaster over the years. Toxic material remains and thousands of survivors and their descendants have suffered from respiratory diseases and from damage to internal organs and immune systems," it said.

The report titled 'The Safety and Health at the Heart of the Future of Work - Building on 100 years of experience' said the Bhopal disaster was among the world's "major industrial accidents after 1919".

Among the other nine major industrial disasters after 1919 listed in the report are the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters as well as the Rana Plaza building collapse.

In the Chernobyl disaster in April 1986, one of four nuclear reactors at the Chernobyl power station in Ukraine exploded, releasing at least 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The explosion killed 31 people immediately and thousands of people in the aftermath.

"The number of casualties in the region increases every year due to long term effects including a sharp increase in thyroid cancer," the report said.

Following a major 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami which struck north-eastern Japan in March 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plants experienced equipment failures which caused a series of explosions, fires and radiation releases, causing injuries to plant workers and emergency responders, it said.

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