Chemical Stockpiles at Union Carbide India Limited in Bhopal: an investigation

Publication - 8 January, 2003
Investigation into the chemical stockpiles at the abandoned Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India.

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Executive summary: Whereas the components of the gas cloud were comparatively short-lived, the factory, nowabandoned, remains heavily contaminated with a range of persistent pollutants, both organicand inorganic in nature. Greenpeace first investigated the contamination in and around the site in 1999, focussing primarily on the contamination of soil and drinking water.However, there are also significant chemical stockpiles housed in several of the buildings of the former factory. They are investigated in this current study, which also updates the status of contamination in the soil of Union Carbide’s former solar evaporation ponds (SEPs), into which process wastewaters were discharged over a period of some seven years.Twelve stockpile samples were collected from six locations inside the site and four soil samples were collected from the SEPs. The stockpile samples were analysed to determine their content of carbaryl (sevin), the main product manufactured in Bhopal, as well ashexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) isomers that were also used as an insecticide under the common name of BHC, and hexachlorobenzene, one of the known contaminants of BHC. They were also screened to identify as many of the other organic constituents as possible. In addition to the stockpiles that were sampled, dumped materials were noticed at several locations and the laboratory building was found to contain many bottles of unused reagents. The soil samples from the SEPs were screened for organic contaminants and concentrations of heavy metals were determined.

Num. pages: 95

ISBN: 90-73361-80-X