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Industrial Disaster: Impact on Public health & Prevention Measures

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Apoorva Dhupkar,

Vikas Shende

.Ujjain Engineering College, Ujjain

M.P. Council of Science & Technology, Bhopal

An Industrial Disaster is a specific, identifiable, unexpected, unusual and unintended external action which occurs in a particular industry, without apparent or deliberate cause but with marked effects. It implies a generally negative probabilistic outcome which may have been avoided or prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence. As a consequence, such an accident can immediately invoke thousands of premature deaths with significant morbidity all around. Moreover, the mayhem caused to the public is detrimental to the society and its well being. The causes of industrial disasters may be numerous. Prominent amongst them are, fires, explosions, nuclear reactor accidents, breaks in water, gas, or sewer lines. Other reasons may be industrial sites are located in communities affected by natural disasters, equipment failures, or workers have inadequate training or fatigue and make errors. As a result of rapid developmental activities, tremendous amounts of pollutants (different gases, CO2, NH3, toxic metals, pesticides, etc.) are continuously being added to the air, water and soil thus contaminating the air we breathe in, the water we drink and the soil we grow our food on. Hence, human health is exposed to the risk of different diseases. In general, chemical pollutants like salts of toxic metals (e.g. lead, mercury, selenium, arsenic) constitute the most difficult type of pollution for control, often requiring advance treatment methods. Some constituents of industrial effluents, notable cyanides, thiocynates, polychlorinated biphenyls and various polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons are also known for toxic effects. In so far the health aspects are concerned, the effect of most of the chemical pollutants may be long term and cumulative. In India, Agro based and chemical industries have major shares of 47 per cent and 37 per cent respectively, from the total number of industries. About 77 per cent and 15 per cent

of the industries are predominantly water and air polluting respectively and 8 per cent are potentially both air and water polluting. Such industrial pollution causes a lot of chronic diseases as bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, jaundice, diarrhoea, nephritis, lung cancer, etc. If this is the impact of industrial effluents in their normal functioning, then can you imagine how adversely an industrial disaster affects the health of people? Indeed, its impact is so vast and detrimental that every industrial disaster is called as one of the worst of its kind leading not only to the immediate diseases found in that generation but also has continuing consequences till centuries. Needless to mention the Bhopal Gas tragedy and disasters like of Chernobyl reactor for which still the people have to pay off. With the rapid development of industrial sector, prevention of such disasters has become the issue of utmost importance today. The recognition of disaster risk and vulnerability reduction is essential for sustainable development planning. This paper looks into the issues pertaining to industrial disasters, its impact on public health and strong preventive measures to be undertaken to avoid such disasters in future. Keywords: Industrial Disaster, Causes, Impact on health, Prevention