December 3, 1984 was an unfortunate day when the world witnessed one of the worst recorded accidents in the history of chemical disaster. The disaster occurred at the plant of Union Carbide at Bhopal. It resulted in loss of human life, property and damage to the environment. The episode of the Bhopal gas tragedy, which took place 14 years ago, has left a scar which is beyond repair. All over the world, and, in particular in India, this was a turning point which triggered important conventions, a series of legislations, guidelines and directives to strengthen emergency preparedness and also emphasised safety measures in order to prevent such accidents in future.
The Ministry of Environment & Forests organised an Interactive Session which was held on December 4, 1998 at 3.30 p.m. at FICCI, Tansen Marg, New Delhi - 3 to observe this day as "Chemical Disaster Prevention Day". Presiding over the occasion was the Hon'ble Union Minister for Environment & Forests, Shri Suresh P Prabhu.
To generate awareness about the importance of the day and for adopting precautions for chemical safety in industries, an on-the-spot competition was held at the National Museum of Natural History on December 01, 1998 on the subject of Industrial Safety. About 250 students from various schools of Delhi and the surrounding areas participated in the competition. The prize distribution for the the poster competition was delivered by the Hon'ble Minister for Environment & Forests to eight students.
The deliberations during the Interactive Session had opening remarks by Shri Vinod Vaish, Special Secretary of the Ministry of Environment & Forests. Shri Vaish highlighted the importance of the day. It was followed by talks by technical experts, namely Shri R K Garg, Ex-Director, BARC, giving an overview of Chemical Safety in the country and by Mr JM Ham, Department of Industrial Safety, Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, Netherlands, who shared international experience on chemical safety.