Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dow forever stands indicted

Activists & victims of India’s Bhopal gas accident in 1984 campaigned for months to the British government & the International Olympic Committee demanding they drop Dow Chemical as a sponsor of the 2012 London Olympics. US-based Dow is now the owner of Union Carbide, whose neglect of safety systems to save money caused  the pesticide plant to leak toxic gas (an ingredient in pesticides the plant produced) into the city, killing an estimated 25,000, injuring half a million, & contaminating the environment & water supply, which has created a whole new generation of children suffering chemically-induced illness & neurological disabilities. Their just petitions received little help from the Indian government since it is collusive in this criminal travesty. In June 2010, an Indian court indicted seven former managers at Union Carbide for negligence & sentenced them to two years in jail & a fine of $2,100. Despite public outrage in India, the Supreme Court there upheld corporate impunity & turned down an appeal for harsher sentences. Dow sponsorship politically contaminates the 2012 London Dowolympics. Activists held a Special Olympics protest in Bhopal to educate about the legacy of pollution, disability, & human suffering that Dow leaves in its wake. This weeping mother at the protest holds her child suffering those effects. It’s not yet clear how civil & criminal litigation against Dow/Union Carbide will proceed since in June a US court absolved the company of all liability in the Bhopal disaster which means they are not liable for remediation or pollution-related claims. It’s not certain legal appeals are exhausted but political pressure on the courts & Dow can eventually render a just judgement. Dow will forever stand indicted. (Photo by Prakash Singh/AFP)

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