The accidents in various types of industries like manufacturing, power production etc. and in storage and transportation of various hazardous materials used in these industries fall under this category. The risk involved under this category is defined as the chances of death or injury per person per number of hours exposed.
The major disaster threats have emerged in the chemical and nuclear industries. The manufacturing, processing, transportation, distribution/storage and the application/use of many products of these two areas are hazardous. The following paragraphs highlight some aspects under these two major groups.
Types of Industrial Hazards
The Chemical Hazards
The chemical industry is massive throughout the globe, manufacturing a huge quantity of chemicals annually. At present four and a half million chemicals are registered with the 'Chemical Abstracts', and thousands of new chemicals are created every year. The creation of new chemicals becomes imminent for higher standards of everyday life. The advances in this particular industry are due to substantial demand. In our country, the chemical industry is about US$20 billion-a-year industry. The chemical industry faces multiple risks involved with production, transportation, storage, usage and disposing off the effluents containing residual chemicals.
The studies conducted on the chemical disasters' show that the incidence of chemical emergencies and disasters are on increase throughout the world. Even the risks involved within these types of industries are higher due to the involvement of larger amounts of materials involved. For example, the tonnage carrying capacity of the sea going petrochemical tankers increased seven times during the period 1960-1980. Similarly, trucks carrying chemicals, even petrochemicals, have increased along with the higher carrying capacity. Thus, the risk involved in the increased capacity is automatically higher.
From the technological hazards points of view, 1984 was the worst year, where three major disasters took place in the world. In these three disasters, about 30 3,500 people died. These disasters were:
i) Bhopal (India,2/3.12.84) - more than 2000 deaths, 34,000 eye infections 2,00,000 people left the city. Release of toxic gas from the factory in the urban area.
ii) Mexico City (Mexico, 19.1 1.84) -452 deaths, 31,000 homeless and 3,00,000 , evacuated from the site. LPG explosions in a high density residential area near the industrial site.
iii) Cubatao (Brazil, 25.2.84) - 500 deaths in the petroleum spillage and fire in an illegally built town near the industrial site.
The Nuclear Hazards
The nuclear power industry was developed because initially, it seemed to offer a relatively dependable and inexpensive source of energy. The history of nuclear industrial development is about half a century old. After a few accidents in this industry like Chernobyl (former USSR), the industry is being considered as a major hazardous one. Majority of developing countries including India are using nuclear power increasingly to get rid of continuously increasing need of imported sources of energy. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (1AFA), developing country's present share of world's installed nuclear power plants is about 7.0%. A total of 21 developing countries either have nuclear power plants in operation or have the plants in construction or planning stage. This number will be increasing in future. As per the estimates of IAEA, nuclear energy production is growing at an average of 2.8 to 3.9 percent per year worldwide in the period of 1989-2005.
Besides, the in-plant 'nuclear plant' problems, risks are associated with the transportation and disposal of nuclear wastes over long distances including other increasing byproducts of the nuclear plant processes.
Transportation accidents constitute a special category of industrial and technological disasters. The accidents in various modes of transport like roadways, airways, railways and seaways fall under this category. The risk involved under this category is defined as the chances of death, or injury per kilometer travelled.
The public transport systems in present times are much safer in comparison to few decades ago. The innovation in the safety systems have reduced the chances of occurrences of disasters considerably. With all available sources, the number of deaths in the transportation sector are on the rise due to increased number of travelers and enhanced travelling distances. The mobility at present is very high due to increased businesses and higher tourist activities throughout the globe.
The transport related risk is also high due to higher occupancy of the vehicles used for travelling by air, rail or road ways. Even a majority of passenger vehicles have large capacity to accommodate the large number of passengers. Thus any accident results in more deaths or injuries. One example of this type of disaster is the mid air collision over Charkhi Dadri near Delhi in November, 1996.
Mid-air Collision between Saudi-Kazakh Aeroplanes:
On November 12, 1996 around 6.40 P.M. two planes owned by Kazakh Airlines(KZA 1907) and Saudi Airways (SVA 763) collided in the air near Charkhi Dadri, 80 Km north-west of Delhi. The following is the fact sheet of the disaster:
1. Collision height - about 5000 metres above mean sea level.
2. Average speed at impact - 500km. per hour
3. Total people killed - 351 (312 on board the Saudi Airways Boeing 747 and 39 in the Kazakh Airlines IL-76)
4. Radius of debris - about five kilometer
5. Separation between the debris- about seven kilometers between the two planes.
6. Approximate weight - about 500 tonnes of the wreckage
7. The chronology of the events leading to the disaster can be summarised as following:
8. Saudi Airlines flight took off from the Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi at 6:33 .M. for Dahran and Jeddah, with 312 persons on board. The Air Traffic Controller at Delhi airport tells the pilot to climb to a height of 14000 ft. and standby.
9. At the same time, a Kazakh Airlines plane coming to New Delhi with 39 persons on board is cleared to descend to 15,000 ft. by the Air Traffic Controller.
10. Both the pilots confirmed the stipulated heights as given by the Air Traffic Controller, Within a minute, the radar in the control room had two blips on screen, indicating two planes approaching each other and merge with each other. The blips disappeared from the screen just after merger.
11. A US plane saw the bright glow in the sky and two fire balls falling down to the ground.
12. As the debris was spread over five Km radius area, without proper road connection, it took about 2 hours by the local authorities, to reach the debris site.
13. The local people started the rescue and search operation immediately after the disaster.
14.There was no survivor.
15. The cause was faulty equipment in aircraft and pilot error.