Movie Review: Bhopal Express
The film Bhopal Express is an account of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984. The tragedy which led to the death of more than 8,000 people and systemic injuries to more than 500,000 others was caused by leakage of poisonous gas from the Union Carbide Factory in Bhopal, India (Hazarika, 1987). The film Bhopal Express tells of that sad event through the story of a newlywed couple that is threatened with the genetic aftermaths of the gas tragedy (Nayar, 2004). Against this background, corporations have a duty to protect the communities in which they operate and at all times their activities should never endanger human, animal or even plant life.
Big corporations should be mindful of the welfare of the people in their operational areas. They can for instance ensure that they conduct regular maintenance of their systems and machines to prevent occurrences such as those preceding the Bhopal disaster. According to Hazarika (1987) the corporations can also sensitize or educate the community on how to react to tragedies in order to avoid the extent of damages caused. In addition, the corporations should conduct and fully implement Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) of their operations regularly. In addition to the EIA, big corporations should access the social impacts of their operations on the community (Hazarika, 1987). Most importantly, big corporations should locate manufacturing plants of all dangerous chemicals into industrial areas where their operations pose minimal threats to the communities.
Big corporations can help in the growth of the local economies of the places where they operate. They can do this by offering jobs especially the managerial and other high positions to qualified members from their immediate community. This gives more people in that community more disposable income and thus stimulating economic growth. The corporations can also run educational programs to support the local community. Hazarika (1987) asserts that doing so will assure the corporation of a huge pool of qualified personnel whose loyalty to the company is high and whose salary and wage demands may not be as high as those of “imported” labor. Moreover, it would be prudent for corporations to run corporate social responsibility programs. The programs could range from health courses or setting up a foundation for health, education among other social needs for the community. Doing so makes the immediate community the number one customers or brand campaigners for the corporation. In addition, maintaining a healthy community translates to maintaining a healthy, motivated and highly productive workforce which boosts the profitability of the corporation.
Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), the company responsible for the Bhopal Gas Tragedy could have done several things to prevent the disaster. The first was to maintain a high level of mechanical safety. Its engineers and technical team should have ensured that all valves and other parts prone to leakages were mechanically sound (Hazarika, 1987). Secondly, the company should have located its manufacturing operations far from a residential area and into a commercial place where gas leakages and other deadly failures are likely to cause minimal harm to life. It is alleged that an employee of the company sabotaged the company by adding water to a certain chemical hence the release of the gas in such deadly quantities (Hazarika, 1987). As such, UCIL should have weeded out all discordant employees and ensured that only the loyal and satisfied employees remained in the company. Moreover, the company should have limited sensitive operations to skilled, qualified and trusted persons in order to reduce chances of such a disaster happening. Better still, UCIL should have educated its employees on the potential impacts their actions and those that the plant posed to the community. Lastly, the company should have pre-educated the community on how to react to the tragedy in order to reduce the extent of the damage that occurred.
Nayar, D. (Director). (2004). Bhopal express [Motion picture]. India: Cinebella Home Entertainment.
Hazarika, S. (1987). Bhopal, the lessons of a tragedy. New Delhi, India: Penguin Books.