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BP oil spill cannot be compared with Bhopal disaster


New Delhi : British High Commissioner Richard Stagg Wednesday said the recent oil spill in US waters could not be compared to the scale of the Bhopal gas disaster, even as he noted the nuclear liability bill should take care that accidents do not happen.

“BP (British petroleum) incident was very small as compared to Bhopal,” Stagg told IANS on the sidelines of a conference on climate change. He was asked if there were any lessons to be learnt from the handling of the BP oil spill for industrial disasters like the Bhopal gas leak.

Stagg also did not give an opinion on the controversies surrounding the nuclear liability bill, but said: “Nuclear liability bill needs to ensure that no industrial accident takes place and human life should be given the top priority in the process”.

Noting that “no place is a zero risk place”, He said: “It is the duty of the state to help and manage it effectively.”

India has signed an agreement with Britain for cooperation in civil nuclear energy.

The Indian parliament passed the nuclear liability bill in the just concluded monsoon session. Detractors of the bill had made repeated reference to the Bhopal gas disaster and the handling of the compensation amount as their basis for opposition. They had pointed out how the Obama administration had pressured BP to stop the oil leak and pay up for the cleaning up process.

On climate change, Stagg said developing nations need to develop industries that are less carbon dependent. “Britain’s carbon emissions have been 21 percent lower than 1999. We aim at 30 percent. This should be a good example for developing countries.”