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Presentation on theme: "UNIVERSITY OF PADUA FACULTY OF ENGINEERING Second Cycle Degree in Environmental Engineering 2011-2012 INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS."— Presentation transcript:


2 Index 1.Seveso disaster (Italy), 1976; 2.Bophal (India), 1984; 3.Deepwater Horizon oil spill (gulf of Mexico), 2010; 4.Other major environmental disasters in History; 5.Seveso Directives.

3 1. Seveso dioxin pollution (Italy) 1976

4 An extremely serious accident occurred in 1976 in a small chemical plant located not far from Milan. It is known as “Seveso disaster”, because Seveso was the most affected community. The industrial plant was owned by the company ICMESA (Industrie Chimiche Meda Società Azionaria), a subsidiary of Givaudan which in turn was a subsidiary of Hoffmann- La Roche. The plant was built many years before the accident, and was manufacturing dioxins. The accident (1)

5 Due to a mechanical failure the temperature rose to around 300°C, and the relief valve eventually opened: 6 tons of material, including 1 kg of TCDD* (tetrachlorodibenzodioxin), were released over an 18 km 2 area. Dioxin first came to widespread public notice during the Vietnam War, when it was identified as a component of the defoliant Agent Orange. Previously, the substance had been banned from agricoltural use, because of its alleged toxic effects on humans. The accident (2)

6 The safety measures taken by the Company and the Authorities were badly coordinated. At least a week passed before it was publicly stated that a dioxin pollution occurred, and another week passed before the evacuation began. Within days a total of 3,300 animals were found dead, mostly poultry and rabbits. Emergency slaughtering started, to prevent TCDD from entering the food chain, and by 1978 over 80,000 animals had been slaughtered. Safety measures, cleanup and restoration (1)

7 Safety measures, cleanup and restoration (2) The contaminated area was divided into different zones: A, B and R, in decreasing order of surface soil concentrations of TCDD. Zone A (the closest to the plant) was completely evacuated and fenced, and 1.600 people of all ages had been examined. The local population was advised not to touch or eat locally grown fruits or vegetables. Many people were found to suffer from skin lesions. Zone A had a TCDD soil concentration of >50 microgram/m 2, and about 700 residents.

8 Zone B had a TCDD soil concentration between 5 and 50 micrograms/m 2, and about 4700 residents. Zone R (“Respect zone”) had a TDCC soil concentration of < 5 micrograms/m 2, and about 31.800 residents. 2 months after the disaster, the Italian government granted a loan of 40 billion lire to the region, to finance necessary measures. In 1978, the government raised its special loan from 40 to 115 billion lire. 6 months after the accident, the decontamination works began, to enable resumption of productive activities. Safety measures, cleanup and restoration (3)

9 More than 1 year after the accident, the decontamination works of zone A was completed. The government decided to demolish most heavily contaminated houses and rebuild. Waste from the cleanup activities, containing chemical residues and a protecting clothing, were stored in a containment tanks, designed for the storage of nuclear waste. In 1982 several barrels of toxic waste left the ICMESA plant. After a series of unclear events, nine years after the disaster, Roche - which stated that the Company wanted to take the responsibility for the safe destruction of the waste - declared that the toxic waste had all been incinerated in Switzerland. Decontamination and restoration (2)

10 In 1980 the Director of Production at ICMESA was shot by a member of a terrorist organization. A few months later a compensation agreement was signed by representatives of the Region, President of the Italian Republic and Givaudan/ICMESA. The total amount of the agreement was about 20 billion lire. The technical director of ICMESA, was sentenced to five years imprisonment in the first degree trial, then had his sentence reduced to two years and was paroled on appeal. The European Union Industrial Safety Regulations are known as the Seveso I Directive (82/501/EEC) and Seveso II Directive (96/82/EEC). The judiciary case (1)

11 1981: settlement with the municipalities of Desio and Cesano Maderno: ICMESA pays respectively 1.45 and 2.85 billion lire; 1982: settlement with Meda: ICMESA pays 1.3 billion lire; 1983: settlement with Seveso: ICMESA pays 15 billion lire; 1985: Milan Court of Appeal confirms criminal convictions of two of the five accused - the Director of ICMESA and the Technical Director of Givaudan; The judiciary case (2) Most individual compensation claims had been settled out of Court:

12 In 1991 the Civil Court of Milan required Givaudan to pay 2 millions liras to each inhabitant of the contaminated zones B and R. The Court's pronounce stated: "The exposure to an unknown quantity of dioxin, the restrictions on liberty of actions and of life, the oppressive public-health measures, all constitute causes for disturbance and moral damage.” The judiciary case (3)

13 The European Union Industrial Safety Regulations are known as: - Seveso I Directive (82/501/EEC); - Seveso II Directive (96/82/EEC). The judiciary case (4)

14 2. Bhopal gas leak (India), 1984

15 The accident (1) The Bhopal disaster is considered the worst disaster of the modern history. On the night of december 2, 1984, at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, water entered a tank containing 42 tons of methyl isocyanate (MIC) causing a leak of gas and other chemicals. MIC is an hazardous chemical element, highly reactive, in particular with water. A gas cloud was formed, and since it was denser than the surrounding air, it stayed close to the ground, causing the intoxication of hundreds of thousands of people.

16 According to a report, causes of the accident were: - insufficient training of workers; - poor maintenance of the plant; - failure of several safety system (some of them were switched off to save money); The gravity of the leak was increased by the absence of a cathastrophy plan. The accident (2)

17 Injury to or loss of life People were awaken by symptoms such as cough, eye irritation, vomiting, and were already dead in the morning hours. 3.787 deaths were officially related to the gas exposure, but up to 25.000 deaths have been attributed to this tragedy in more recent estimates. More than 500.000 people were injured. More than 120.000 people still suffer of serious disability and diseases. Environmental damage Thousands of animals were slaughtered, and the gas caused visible damage to vegetation. Fishing was prohibited. The accident (3)

18 The Union Carbide is an American chemical company. United Carbide India Limited (UCIL), a 49% public participation company, was the Indian subsidiary of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). In 2001 Dow Chemical Company purchased UCC. The Company

19 Two years after the disaster the plant was closed. Pipes, drums and tanks were sold. The plant was not dismantled and is still there, as are storages of different residues. In December 2008, the High Court decided that the toxic waste should be incinerated. Chemicals abandoned at the plant continue to leak and pollute the groundwater. The (unperformed) cleanup

20 December 7, 1984 Anderson, Chairman and CEO of UCC was arrested by the Indian Police at the airport (in order to ensure his safety). He was released after 6 hours, on a $2.100 bail, and flown back to US. Later he was charged by the Bophal Authorities for manslaughter (culpable homicide), a crime punished with a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. He did not appear at the hearing and was declared fugitive. UCC tried to hide the poor safety of the plant and the lack of prevention measures, and claimed publicly that the disaster was caused by a sabotage. The judiciary case (1)

21 In 1985 the Bophal Gas Leak Disaster Act made the Government the sole representative of the victims, meaning that victims could not personally ask for compensation. In 1986 the Indian Government filed a civil law suit against UCC in Bophal. In 1989 the Company offered $350 million, the amount of the insurance policy. The Government of India claimed $3.3 billion from UCC. In 1989, UCC agreed to pay $470 million (the insurance sum plus interest) in a full and final settlement of its civil and criminal liability. As a consequence, victims of the accident obtained only $300 each! The judiciary case (2)

22 Indian Supreme Court required UCC to finance a 500 bed hospital for survivors. Bhopal Memorial Hospital was inaugurated in 1998. It was obliged to give free care to survivors for eight years. In 1991 the Indian Tribunal decided to continue the penal prosecution, but only for negligence*. In 2003 India pressed for the extradition of the Chairman and CEO (fugitive). The next year US denied the extradition. The judiciary case (3)

23 ] Several civil and criminal proceeding are still pending, in Indian and US Courts, concerning UCIL, UCC, empoloyees, victims, and Anderson (the CEO). In june 2010 a Bophal Court delivered a guilty verdict on 7 indian former members of the UCIL government board, and the chairman. Being the charge a gross negligence manslaughter, the punishment is 2 years imprisonment and 100.000 rupie (about $2.000 fine). The appeal is pending. The judiciary case (4)

24 3. BP oil spill (Mexico), 2010

25 On april 20, 2010 due to an explosion, followed by an inextinguishable fire, the British Petroleum platform, located on the Gulf of Mexico, not far from the coast of Louisiana, sank. As a consequence, an oil spill occurred. The platform, named “Deepwater Horizon”, was a 9 year old offshore drilling unit, capable to operate in waters up to 2,400 m deep, and drill down to about 9,000 m. From March 2008 it was under lease to BP Company. The explosion killed 11 men working on the platform and injured 17 others. The BP platform explosion caused the "worst environmental disaster the US has faced” according to the US government. The accident

26 About 5 million barrels (790,000 m 3 ) of crude oil flood into the see, from the accident to july 2010, when the leak was stopped by a giant cap. The spill caused an extremely serious damage to marine habitats, and to the Gulf's fishing and tourism industries. One year after the accident, august 2011, oil was covering several square miles of water not far from the platform. Scientists reported immense underwater “bubbles” of oil, not visible at the surface. Environmental damage

27 Ships, underwater vehicles, airplanes, recovery vessels were active in cleanup activities, in the attempt to protect the environment from the spreading oil. Nearly 7,500 personnel were participating, with an additional 2,000 volunteers assisting. Three fundamental strategies were developed:  to contain the oil on the surface, away from the most sensitive areas;  to dilute and disperse it into less sensitive areas;  to remove it from the water. Cleaup activities (1) different techniques: anchored barriers, sand- filled barricades,disper dants, etc.

28 Cleaup activities (2) By October, the State of Louisiana had spent $240 million of the proposed $360 million from BP. The barrier had captured an estimated 1,000 barrels (160 m 3 ) of oil, but critics and experts said the barrier was purely symbolic and call it "an exercise in futility" given the estimated 5,000,000 barrels (790,000 m 3 ). Many scientists say the remaining oil in the Gulf is too dispersed to be blocked or captured.

29 Causes of the disaster: - a series of cost-cutting decisions; - lack of a security system of the platform; - defects in the cement structure; BP attitude: BP admitted that it made mistakes which led to the accident and the oil spill. In June 2010 BP set up a $20 billion fund as a compensation to the victims. To July 2011, the fund has paid $4.7 billion to about 200.000 claimants. The fund has nearly 1 million claims and continues to receive thousands of claims each week. Causes and Responsabilities

30 Several lawsuits were filed against BP and other related companies. Then BP took legal action against the company (Halliburtun) which cemented the drilling unit. Thousands of claims, coming from out-of-work fishers and tourist resorts receiving cancellations were filed and many of them have so far been settled with the Company. In September 2011, the US government published its final investigative report on the accident. In essence, that report states that the main cause was the defective cement job, and Halliburtun, BP and Transocean (the owner of the drilling unit) were, in different ways, responsible for the accident. The trials are still pending. The judicial case

31 4. Other major environmental disasters (1) a) Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion (Russia), 1986: a mix of human errors and mechanical failures caused the plant reactor’s explosion. An atmospheric cloud containing approximately 200 million curies of radioactive material was formed. More than 8.000 people died during the first cleanup operation, and hundreds thousands have been suffering from birth defects, cancer, heart diseases in the following years. The most hazardous substances dispersed were plutonium and cesius. The reactor was wrapped in a concrete sarcophagus. This is a very expensive solution, since the sarcophagus has to be replaced with a new one periodically. The reactor was closed in 2000.

32 b) Basel chemical disaster (Switzerland), 1896: a fire at chemical company Sandoz exposed the entire region to a poisonous veil of thick smoke, carrying 1,351 tons of pesticides and agrochemicals. The contamination affected the surrounding soil and also groundwater. The pollutants destroyed the river’s flora and fauna. Despite Swiss authorities stated that it is not necessary to decontaminate the site again, a leading expert on the disaster says the area remains polluted. No one at Sandoz management was ever held responsible for the disaster, the cause of which has never been firmly established. 4. Other major environmental disasters (2)

33 Directive 82/501/EEC (Seveso I) Directive 96/82/EC (Seveso II) Seveso (I) Luglio 1976 Beek (NL) Novembre 1975 Bhopal (India) Dicembre 1984 Mexico City (MEX) Novembre 1984 Basel (CH) Novembre 1986 Seveso (I) Luglio 1976 Beek (NL) Novembre 1975 Mexico City (MEX) Novembre 1984 Chernobyl (UA) April 1986 Flixborough (UK) Giugno 1974 Bhopal (India) Dicembre 1984

34 “Seveso II” Amendment (2003/105/EC) Enschede (NL) Maggio 2000 Toulouse (F) Settembre 2001 Buncefield (UK) Dicembre 2005 Baia Mare (RO) Gennaio 2000 Basel (CH) Novembre 1986 BP oil spill (Mexico) 2010

35 5. Seveso Directives -SEVESO I: CEE/82/501 (replaced by the following); -SEVESO II: 1996/82/CE (modified by the following); -SEVESO III: 2003/105/CE (transposed in the Italian legislation with the D.lgs. 238/2005, which has replaced the previous D.lgs. 334/1999).

36 5. SEVESO III Directive: main principles The Directive has introduced important changes and new concepts: -it focuses on the environment protection; -for the first time it covers substances considered dangerous for the environment, in particular aquatoxics; -it has introduced new requirements concerning safety management systems, emergency plans and land-use planning, and tightened up the provisions on inspections and public information.

37 The Directive's scope: -it is applicable to any establishment where dangerous substances are present, or likely to be produced as a result of an accident, in quantities equal to or in excess of the quantities listed in the Annex; -the list of named substances in the Annex is reduced from 180 to 50, but is accompanied by a list of categories of substances, which in practice broadens the scope; -Directive 2003/105/EC (see amending acts) extended the scope of the Seveso II Directive to cover the processing and storage of minerals containing dangerous substances extracted in mining and quarrying, and the tailings disposal facilities used in these activities*. 5. SEVESO III Directive: scopes

38 Certain areas are not covered by the Directive: military establishments; hazards created by ionising radiation; the carriage of dangerous substances by road, rail, air and inland waterways; the carriage of dangerous substances in pipelines outside the establishments covered by the Directive; waste landfill sites. 5. SEVESO III Directive: exclusions

39 Member States must ensure that the operator: takes all measures necessary to prevent major accidents and to limit their consequences for man and the environment; is required to prove to the competent authority that all the necessary measures have been taken.. 5. SEVESO III Directive: general obligations of the operator (1)

40 Obligation to notify: under the principle that it is illegal for enterprises to hold large quantities of dangerous substances without informing the authorities. This notification must contain the following details: the name of the operator and the address of the establishment; the registered place of business of the operator; the name or position of the person in charge of the establishment; information sufficient to identify the dangerous substances or category of substances involved; the quantity and physical form of the dangerous substance or substances involved; the immediate environment of the establishment.  In the event of a change in the situation the operator must immediately inform the authority. 5. SEVESO III Directive: obligation to notify

41 Member States must ensure: that the operator draws up a document setting out his major- accident prevention policy; that the policy is properly implemented. 5. SEVESO III Directive: prevention policy

42 The Safety Report has the purposes of demonstrating that: a prevention policy and a safety management system have been put into effect; major-accident hazards have been identified and that the necessary measures have been taken to prevent such accidents and to limit their consequences; adequate safety and reliability have been incorporated into the design, construction, operation and maintenance of any installation, storage facility, equipment and infrastructure connected with its operation, which are linked to major- accident hazards inside the establishment; internal emergency plans have been drawn up.. 5. SEVESO III Directive: safety report (1)

43 Minimal contents: the inventory (updated) of the dangerous substances present in the establishment. Revisions and Updates: - at least every five years, or - at any other time at the initiative of the operator or the request of the competent authority, where justified by new facts, or - in the event of a modification of the site. The Report has also the purpose of: supplying information to enable an external plan to be drawn up; providing sufficient information to the competent authorities. 5. SEVESO III Directive: safety report (2)

44 All the operators must provide: -External emergency plan (safety report); -Internal emergency plan.  Emergency plans must be reviewed at least every three years. 5. SEVESO III Directive: Emergency Plans

45 The competent Authority must: identify establishments or groups of establishments where the risk or consequences of a major accident could be increased due to the location and the proximity of the establishments and their holdings of dangerous substances; ensure an exchange of information and cooperation between the establishments. 5. SEVESO III Directive: precautions regarding location

46 Member States must: 1. ensure that the objectives of preventing major accidents are taken into account in their land-use policies, through: -controls on the siting of new establishments; -modifications to existing establishments and new developments (transport links, residential areas, etc.) in the vicinity of existing establishments. 2. in the long term, ensure that appropriate distances are maintained or created between establishments and residential areas. 3. ensure also that information on safety measures and on the requisite behavior in the event of an accident are supplied to persons liable to be affected by a major accident, without their having to request them. 4. ensure that safety reports are made permanently available to the public. 5. SEVESO III Directive: Information on safety measures

47 5. SEVESO III Directive: Information to be provided after a major accident (1) After a major accident, the operator must: inform the competent authority; provide the authority with information on the circumstances of the accident, the dangerous substances involved, the data available for assessing the effects of the accident on people and the environment and the emergency measures taken; inform the authority of the treatments/remedial measures defined to minimize the effects of the accident and to prevent any recurrence of such an accident; update the information provided.

48 After a major accident the Authority must: ensure that emergency measures have been taken; collect the all the information for a full analysis of the accident, if necessary by inspection; ensure that the operator takes any necessary remedial measures; make recommendations on future preventive measures. 5. SEVESO III Directive: Information to be provided after a major accident (2)

49 Member States must inform the Commission of major accidents which have occurred within their territory. The information must include: the name and address of the authority responsible for the report; the date, time and place of the major accident; the name of the operator and the address of the establishment; a description of the circumstances of the accident; a description of the emergency measures and precautions taken. 5. SEVESO III Directive: Information to be provided to the Commission after a major accident 5. SEVESO III Directive: Information to be provided to the Commission after a major accident (1)

50 DATA BASE the Commission In order to fulfil its obligations with respect to informing Member States, the Commission must establish a file and an information system to collect all the data on major accidents occurring within the territory of Member States. 5. SEVESO III Directive: Information to be provided to the Commission after a major accident 5. SEVESO III Directive: Information to be provided to the Commission after a major accident (2)

51 5. SEVESO III Directive: Inspections The competent authority The competent authority must organize a system of inspections so as to ensure: that the operator can demonstrate that he has provided appropriate measures for preventing major accidents and limiting their consequences; that the safety report is accurate and complete; that information has been supplied to the public.

52 5. SEVESO III Directive: Prohibition of operations Member States Member States must: -prohibit the operating of any establishment, installation or storage facility where the measures taken by the operator for the prevention of accidents are inadequate; -prohibit the operations if the operator has not submitted: –the notification; –the reports; –any other information required by the Directive.

53 5. SEVESO III Directive: Collateral legislation to be considered Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents (Decision 98/685/EC of March 23, 1998); Protocol on civil liability for damage and compensation of damage caused by transboundary effects of industrial accidents on transboundary waters (Kiev, May 21, 2003).

54 Thank you for your attention Thank you for your


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