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Bhopal Water Pollution Victims Ask Appeals Court to Hold Union Carbide Accountable

Today, lawyers representing communities living near the site of the world’s worst industrial disaster, the Bhopal Gas Disaster, will argue to the U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that Union Carbide Corp. (UCC) is responsible for water pollution from the same plant that continues to foul local wells. Over a year ago a New York federal district court found that UCC could not be sued, despite compelling evidence that UCC caused the harm.

“The Plaintiffs have provided substantial evidence that demonstrates UCC’s responsibility,” said Richard Herz, Senior Litigation Attorney for EarthRights International (ERI), which represents the plaintiffs. “Two leading experts concluded that UCC’s technology and waste disposal strategy for the plant was improper for the site, and caused the water pollution that we still see today.”

Additionally, the manager who oversaw the construction of the plant confirmed that he worked for UCC, not for the Indian subsidiary that officially operated the plant. But the federal district court ruled that UCC was not sufficiently involved in the acts at the plant and that the project manager actually worked for the subsidiary. Because the plaintiffs believe that the district court improperly disregarded evidence of UCC’s responsibility, they appealed to the Second Circuit.

On December 2, 1984, poisonous gas from the Bhopal chemical plant enveloped nearby communities, killing thousands. The water pollution here is unrelated to the Gas Disaster, but has been leaching from the same plant ever since it was shut down afterward.

Marco Simons, ERI’s General Counsel, added, “These families have been living with Union Carbide’s pollution for decades. We remain committed to seeking the justice that they deserve.”

The case, Sahu v. Union Carbide Corp., is No. 14-3087 in the Second Circuit. In addition to ERI, the plaintiffs are represented by Rajan Sharma of Sharma & DeYoung, the Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, and Hausfeld, LLP.


Marco Simons
+1 (202) 466 5188 x103

Photo by Jack Laurenson
Information taken from EarthRights International.

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Our Demands

The survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster never want anyone else to suffer the way they have.

Click on the image below or download (PDF) the ICJB Road Map to Justice, which outlines exactly what steps must be taken to ensure a life of justice and dignity for those poisoned by Dow-Carbide

roadmap final june 2014 copyIn order to ensure justice is done and the future well-being of others is secured, the Bhopal survivors’ organizations and ICJB have the following demands for Union Carbide and Dow Chemical, the United States government, the Government of India, and the Government of Madhya Pradesh:

American Multinationals must:

  1. Union Carbide / Dow Chemical must pay a minimum of  8 thousand US dollars to each Bhopal survivor as additional compensation for personal injuries as claimed in the Supreme Court of India.
  2. Union Carbide / Dow Chemical must pay for the clean-up of the soil and groundwater up to international standards.
  3.  Union Carbide / Dow Chemical must pay compensation for health and environmental damage caused by contamination of soil and groundwater.
  4. Dow Chemical must respond to summons issued by the Bhopal District Court to appear before November 13, 2019 in the ongoing criminal case.

Government of USA must:

  1. The US government must serve the summons from the Bhopal District Court upon Dow Chemical without delay
  2. Acknowledge and express regret for financing, through its EXIM Bank, the construction of the hazardously designed plant that caused the world’s worst industrial disaster.
  3. Acknowledge and express regret for rejecting requests by the Indian government for extradition of Warren Anderson, prime accused in the criminal case on the disaster.

Government of India must:

  1. The Indian government must make  Union Carbide / Dow Chemical pay compensation for health and environmental damage caused by contamination of soil and groundwater.
  2. The Indian government must ensure that the criminal trial of accused Indian corporate executives is concluded within the next six months.
  3. Indian government must ensure comprehensive scientific assessment of the depth, spread and nature of soil and groundwater contamination in an around the abandoned pesticide factory.
  4. The Indian government must ensure that standardized treatment protocols are developed for gas exposure related chronic diseases. The Indian government must establish a population based registry for all deaths, births and congenital malformations in  the gas exposed families.  The Indian government must ensure that NIREH (National Institute for Research on Environmental Health ) fulfil its commitment to the Bhopal survivors by generating scientific information on the long term health damage by the gas disaster and most effective means of ameliorating them.
  5. The Indian and MP state governments must ensure that a monthly pension of Rs. 3000/- is paid to all women widowed by the disaster and all those left without means to support themselves as a consequence of gas exposure.
  6. Not allow Dow Chemical to make any investments in this country, directly or indirectly, till it accepts Union Carbide’s liabilities in Bhopal.

Government of Madhya Pradesh must:

  1. Ensure that all hospitals run by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department are adequately staffed, stock quality medicines, use standardized treatment protocols and offer free treatment to people exposed to contaminated ground water.
  2. Ensure that every person known to be disabled or turned destitute including widows as a result of the disaster receives a lifelong monthly pension of at least Rs. 3000/- as social support.
  3. Start providing rehabilitation and medical care to all children of gas and contaminated water exposed parents with congenital disabilities.
  4. Punish corrupt officials involved in misappropriation of Rs. 18 Crores in the work of economic rehabilitation.

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