Joel Taylor – 4th August, 2011
London 2012 Olympics sponsor Dow: don’t judge us on Bhopal deaths
The Dow Chemical Company, which has links to the infamous Bhopal chemical disaster, has defended its plans to sponsor the £7 million Olympic stadium ‘wrap’.
The wrap, which will be seen by 4billion TV viewers, was scrapped to save money in the government’s October spending review. But Dow stepped in to finance it, provoking condemnation from many quarters, particularly from India.
In 1999, Dow merged with the Union Carbide Corporation, whose subsidiary firm Union Carbide India was in charge of the Bhopal chemical plant when disaster struck.
About 11,000 people died as a direct result of the leak of gas from it in 1984. Relatives and survivors have been struggling for years to win apologies and damages.
But Dow UK’s managing director Keith Wiggins yesterday said it should not be judged on the ‘awful legacies’ of the past.
He said: ‘It’s acknowledged the industry has made mistakes in the past. But the world without good chemistry in the future would be a poorer place.’
The wrap will have 336 individual panels, each of which will be 25m high and 2.5m wide. Installation is set to begin next spring.
It was designed to provide an eye-catching and colourful curtain around the steel girders, breeze blocks and seating of the £486million venue.
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: ‘The stadium will look spectacular at Games time and having the wrap is the icing on the cake.’