Chemicals are a vital component of every day life and occupy an important position in our economy. There has been a rapid increase in recent times in their use in industry and house-hold. Many of these chemicals are toxic, highly reactive, explosive or flammable, or have combinati0n of these characteristics. Due to these properties, they have potential to cause damage to human beings, other living creatures, plant, property and the general environment. It is therefore, necessary to take utmost care, while handling such chemicals at all stages of manufacture, processing, treatment, storage, transportation, use, or sale.
The potential for major accidents caused by the increasing production, storage and use of hazardous substances implies that a well defined systematic approach is required if major disasters are to be avoided. Although such an emergency may be caused by a number of factors e.g., plant failure, human error, earth quake, vehicle crash or sabotage, it will normally manifest itself in any of three basic forms viz. fire, explosion or toxic release.
Unlike natural disasters which can not be prevented the occurance of emergencies caused through chemical accidents can be minimized by proper planning and preparedness. Such a planning can be successful, only if those responsible for handling hazardous substances are aware about hazards and have a concern about it. This has to be supported by the local authorities, State Government and the Central Government.