Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal ki Aawaaz
November 21, 2005
Over 300 residents from the communities next to the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal today marched to the Headquarters of the Indian subsidiary of American multinational Dow Chemical Company at Chembur to issue a ‘firmaan’ (proclamation) against the corporation.
The demonstrators charged Dow, the present owner of Union Carbide with “criminal indifference” towards the health of over 20 thousand people living next to the factory that was abandoned along with thousands of tons of chemical waste after the World’s worst industrial disaster in December 1984.
The presence of highly toxic and cancer causing chemicals such as Lindane, Chloroform, Chlorobenzenes and heavy metals such as Mercury and Lead have been identified in the ground water up to a radius of 3 kilometers. Sample analysis of human breast milk has confirmed the presence of mercury, chlorobenzene and other toxic material and the ‘firman’ mentions thousands of new born babies nursing on poison every year.
Shahid Noor, President of Bhopal ki Aawaaz [Voice of Bhopal] an organization of people orphaned by the disaster, charged Dow with following double standards.
“After taking over Union Carbide in February 2001, Dow continued to honour Union Carbide’s liabilities in USA, but when it comes to Carbide’s continuing liabilities in Bhopal, Dow says they have just taken over the assets, not the liabilities. It is this policy of double standards that caused the death and destruction in Bhopal”, says Mr Noor who lost his parents and a brother due to the disaster.
The Bhopal ‘firman’ also commands Dow Chemical to stop the production and marketing of Dursban* an insecticide that is banned in USA since year 2000 in India. In 2003 the corporation had to pay a fine of 2 million dollars for ‘false advertisement’ with regard to the health effects of Dursban. Several studies including many by the US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] have documented the adverse health effects of the chemical particularly on the brain of growing children.
The ‘firman’ warns Dow that direct action against their Indian business will be intensified if they continued with their negligence towards cleaning up of poisons from soil and ground water in Bhopal and the blatant double standards regarding Dursban.
“These are no empty threats, and Dow will take them lightly only at their own risk.” said Mr. Syed M Irfan a victim of the “84 disaster and leader of the Bhopal Gas Peeedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha. He cited a letter from the Ministry of Petroleum that indicates that the recent cancellation of technology purchase contract between Indian Oil Corporation and Dow Chemical was largely due to the opposition of the Bhopal survivors and their international supporters.
The Bhopal ‘firman’ that was pasted on the walls of Dow’s office informed the corporation that victims of their crimes including residents of Midland Michigan, USA, Vietnamese exposed to Agent Orange and Nicaraguan plantation workers harmed by the pesticide Nemagon, are getting together to confront Dow Chemical Company’s crimes against humanity.
Syed M Irfan Shahid Noor
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha Bhopal ki Aawaaz
Bhoipura, Budhwara, Bhopal Risaldar Colony, Chhola Road, Bhopal
Mob. : 9329026319 Mob. : 9826182226
Mumbai Contact : Advocate Vinode Shetty, Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti, Mob : 98205 10146
*Dursban is Dow Chemical’s brand name for chlorpyrifos a chemical poison invented by Nazi scientists. It is known to cause damage to the brain and death. Acute exposure can result in such symptoms as numbness, lack of coordination, dizziness, vomiting, sweating, nausea, stomach cramps, headache, vision disturbances, drowsiness, anxiety, slurred speech, depression, confusion and, in extreme cases, respiratory arrest, unconsciousness, convulsions and death. Studies have indicated that compared to adults, children may be up to twenty times more sensitive to chlorpyrifos. In India, Dow Agro Sciences has set up a manufacturing plant for Dursban in Chiplun, about 250 kilometers from Mumbai.
For more information please visit www.bhopal.net