There are lessons for the smallest child and the worldliest politician in the carnage of gas at Bhopal : "Help each other to do our work" and "Unify or Perish." Yet all the lessons of Bhopal will not live by words. The words must become operations.
A world safety manual in all languages should be prepared, whether for personal or industrial use. The axioms of safety should be taught to the child at the same age as one learns to read and write and name the continents of the globe. They should be part of a world culture. As one learns the rules of safety, one learns much about health practices, social welfare and how to work well.
A world organization of the industry and commerce of hazardous products is necessary at this time. The association should have oversight of safety education in and out of business. It should sponsor and direct worldwide a corps of auditors, consultants and inspectors, who can enter business premises anywhere that hazardous products are handled and whose advice and reports are thereafter monitored for compliance. They should be assisted by the full assembly of satellites and computerized communications and record-keeping. Hearings should be made available where business interests dispute the findings.
Sanctions of publicity, fines, suspension, expulsion, and civil or criminal court proceedings should be granted to the World Association of Hazardous Products Business.
The World Association should sponsor and establish a mutual insurance system among hazardous products business firms. The insurance premiums can be determined as a fraction of net worth, local risk factors, and company experience.
The World Association should seek to establish a situation worldwide such that no country where insufficient or unsafe conditions for safety are found to persist in law or in fact will be able to find a multinational company that will enter it on business; further, that no company going into a country will be allowed to pursue procedures banned by the Association. Thus to evade world standards would involve both a delinquent government and a delinquent company. In this case the Association will seek to prevent a delinquent company from emerging from its state to do business elsewhere.
The World Association should conduct research with the intention of substituting in every situation possible the use of non-toxic means of controlling pests, such as the use of pest-resistant varieties of seeds, using parasites for weed and insect control, introducing natural predators (plants as well as animals), pest-evasive timing of planting and harvesting, and fostering sterile male insect populations.
The World Association should monitor new biotechnological and mechanical progress and lend support to all efforts to make the newest technologies available to all countries on an equal basis regardless of their ability to pay. It may levy an assessment on its members to pay for extending the costs of new technology to the poorest countries or subventing the entrance into the country of a chosen new technology company. The World Association of Hazardous Products Business should house and provide research facilities and advice to groups engaged in monitoring and informing the world public of the hazardous activities of the multinational armaments industry.
The World Association should, whenever its activities impinge upon other types of industry and business, convene assemblies of these, replicating its own representative structure, with the idea of facilitating mutual interests and preparing for an early institution of a World Assembly of Transnational Business, whose mission would be to extend common standards of ethics, safety, compensation and working conditions everywhere.
These are some of the ideas that grew out of discussions of the writer with citizens of three continents concerning the Bhopal tragedy. The ideas need formulation at greater length. Thereupon, it is proposed that a World Congress on Safety in Commerce and Industry be convened to elaborate the ideas and enunciate insofar as possible a practical doctrine concerning them which would be promulgated worldwide. Representation at the Congress would be individual, independent, and non-governmental, with voting according to population proportions of geo-economic regions of the world.
It would be a fitting memorial to the victims of Bhopal to convene the Congress at the City of Bhopal on the First Anniversary of the tragedy, that is, at Midnight of December 2, 1985. The first order of business of the Congress would be to memorialize those who lost their lives and those who dedicated themselves to the care of the injured. Artists of the world would be asked to contribute their work to a museum on the themes of the tragedy and on world safety, peace and industrial progress. A Museum of Safety in Commerce and Industry at Bhopal would hold and exhibit the works of art and collect the historical documentation of the events. Proceedings of the Congress would be preserved there as well.
The Congress would also review and assess the progress made toward achieving justice for the Bhopal victims.
As its mottos, the Congress may adopt these :
"A Civilization qualifies as worthy to the degree that its poor enjoy a decent subsistence, a modern education, and equal justice."
"Safety is the whole World's Business."