Worst Industrial Disasters that Shook the World
History has been a witness to terrible industrial accidents that have led to mass loss of human lives and resources. The impact they had on our environment is hard to even imagine. They are unfortunate incidents that teach us a lesson or two about industrial safety and our social responsibility.
Bhopal gas tragedy, India
When it happened- December 2-3, 1984
What went wrong- Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxic gases leaked in a pesticide plant in Bhopal (India)
Estimated loss- Around 15,000 people have died since the tragedy and some 500,00 were exposed to the deadly gases. The disaster has polluted the groundwater, posing various health hazards to the residents. It is, by far, the worst industrial disaster of our times.
Oppau explosion, Germany
When it happened- September 21, 1921
What went wrong- A tower containing a mixture of 4500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and ammonium sulfate exploded at the plant.
Estimated loss- Some 600 people died and more than 2000 were injured.
Texas city disaster, United States of America
When it happened- April 16, 1947
What went wrong- A fire broke out in a French vessel at the port of Texas city (U.S.A) This detonated about 2,300 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.
Estimated loss- Around 581 people lost their lives and the disaster led to 8,485 victims.
Minamata disaster, Japan
When it happened- 1932-1968
What went wrong- Mercury compounds were dumped in the Minamata Bay (Japan)
Estimated loss- This polluted the bay for 37 years. Over 3,000 suffered from severe mercury poisoning and other deformities.
Chernobyl disaster, Ukraine
When it happened- April 26, 1986
What went wrong- A test on reactor went out of control, leading to a nuclear meltdown.
Estimated loss- 50 people were killed in the explosion. Some 4,000 cancer deaths were observed following the disaster.
Piper Alpha disaster, North Sea
When it happened- July 6, 1988
What went wrong- There was an explosion and fire break-out at North Sea oil production platform.
Estimated loss- Some 167 men lost their lives with a total loss of US$ 3.4 billion. This makes it one of the worst offshore oil disasters.
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, United State of America
When it happened- March 25, 1911
What went wrong- A fire broke out at a factory in New York City (U.S.A), due to negligence.
Estimated loss- Over a hundred workers succumbed to fire or jumped from the building and died.
Exxon Valdez oil spill, United States of America
When it happened- March 24, 1989
What went wrong- An oil tanker hit the Prince William Sound’s Bligh reef. Around 10.8 million gallons of crude oil was dumped into the sea.
Estimated loss- Around 250,000 seabirds, 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 22 orcas, 2,800 sea otters, 247 bald eagles and billions of herring and salmon eggs got perished, making it one of the most devastating environmental disasters in the history.
Texas city refinery explosion, United States of America
When it happened- March 23, 2005
What went wrong- An explosion occurred, due to a diesel truck, at a refinery in Texas (U.S.A)
Estimated loss- Around 15 people died and more than 100 were injured.