Monday, June 07, 2010


FIFA World Cup... coming soon. I don't care--not the least bit interested in football.

The BP Gulf of Mexico gusher continues... again I don't care, even though Louisiana is my home of origin. It's getting too much coverage, and it isn't another Katrina. So much media hype. Oh, and the president isn't showing his anger! The inane press--what does showing anger have to do with anything? That's the Republicans grasping at straws, trying their darnedest to pin something on the president. So, this is Obama's Katrina and he isn't angry enough. Give me a big, fat break! Take it off the news already.

Bhopal tragedy, 26 years hence. Now this is a story worth talking about. The stats I heard today: 4,000 dead in the immediate aftermath, 15-25,000 over the intervening years, and residents still suffering. What a tragedy.

Here in the UAE I used to work at one of Gasco's desert plants. We--I was there as a teacher for new local hires--were told that the sour gas risk at the plant was from the same gas that had killed all those people in Bhopal. We had gas masks ready in our dorm rooms, classrooms, etc. but few of us really took the threat seriously. Still, there were the occasional deaths at Gasco.

Despite the 1 million, 2 million... 100 million ad nauseam man hours without loss time injury endlessly being reported, there was the story of some workers who had got killed. One man was down in a pit and succumbed to a sour gas leak. When his workmates jumped into the pit to help him, they too breathed the odorless gas and died.

The moral of the story--beware of the invisible, odorless, fatal gas. And those poor workers who died didn't count in the LTI (loss time injury) stats. They weren't Gasco workers, but contracted labor--oh, like the 90% of the rest of the workers at the plants, all contracted in one way or another, so no LTI to worry about.

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