National Pollution Prevention Day in India Date in the current year: December 2, 2024

National Pollution Prevention Day in India National Pollution Prevention Day, also known as National Pollution Control Day, is an Indian observance held annually on December 2. It was inaugurated to honor the memory of the victims of the Bhopal disaster and raise awareness of the importance of industrial pollution prevention.

The Bhopal disaster, also known as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a chemical accident that occurred at a pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, on December 2–3, 1984. It is considered the worst industrial disaster in the world by death toll. The accident resulted in the deaths of at least 3,787 people, although the actual death toll is presumed to be much higher, and more than half a million non-fatal injuries.

Due to multiple system malfunctions, water entered a tank with methyl isocyanate (MIC), a highly toxic chemical used in the production of carbamate pesticides, in the late evening of December 2, 1984. The contact of water with the chemical resulted in an exothermic reaction that reached a critical speed after midnight and led to a massive gas leak.

MIC made its way into and around the small towns surrounding the plant, affecting more than 500,000 people. The official death toll of the Bhopal gas tragedy is 3,787 people, 2,259 of them being immediate deaths. However, there are estimates that at least 8,000 people died within two weeks of the disaster and another 8,000 or more have died some time after due to diseases caused by gas exposure. Almost 560,000 people suffered various injuries and experienced long-term health consequences as a result of the accident.

In addition to killing and injuring people, the Bhopal disaster polluted groundwater and soil in the area and made about 50,000 people lose their jobs. Union Carbide India Limited, which owned the plant, distanced itself from the disaster, refusing to claim responsibility, and didn’t provide any support to the victims.

According to a 2020 survey conducted by IQAir, 14 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world were in India. 12.5% of deaths in India is caused by air pollution; according to the World Health Organization, an average 8.5 of every 10,000 children in India die due to air pollution before they turn five. Other types of pollution are also a matter of great concern, so the Indian Government considers it extremely important to raise pollution awareness and implement pollution management policies and regulations.

In 1974, the Government of India established the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. It is tasked with preventing, controlling and abating water and air pollution in the country, promoting the cleanliness of wells and streams, and improving the quality of air.

National Pollution Prevention Day is meant to raise awareness of the importance of industrial disaster management and control and prevention of pollution caused by negligence and industrial processes, as well as to remind individuals and industries about the many pollution control acts that have been adopted in India. The observance is marked by various awareness events held across the country, as well as memorial events dedicated to the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

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