Now Euro MPs tell Dow, ‘He who pollutes must pay’

Dow must have imagined nobody would notice. Or mused that if your double standards are brazen enough, no one will point them out. From Kathy Hunt’s doe-eyed “but they don’t have Superfund over there, do they?” to Michael Parker’s dead-behind-the-eyes suggestion that the beggarly compensation money intended for gas survivors – yes, you read that correctly, gas survivors – should be used to clean up Carbide’s crime, ‘polluter pays’ was only something you did when you couldn’t possibly get away with it. Well it’s starting to look like Dow can’t. Having Congress on your back about it is bad enough, throw in the European parliament and it’s beginning to look like it might not be your year.

On September 24th members of the Green/FEA group announced that they would be “joining in the action that the members of the US Congress have started against the firm DOW.”

Press Statement

The Green / Free European Alliance

Strasbourg, September 24th, 2003

From Bhopal to Toulouse: no forgetting.

Two years after the Toulouse catastrophe, The Green / FEA group at the European Parliament, welcomed a delegation of victims of the Bhopal disaster (25000 dead, 50000 wounded) during the Parliamentary session of September 2003. At the end of the meeting, the group The Green / FEA pledged to support the fight of the Bhopal victims by joining in the action that the members of the US Congress have started against the firm DOW. The Green / FEA group will demand that the European Commission and the European Council implement all means necessary to give all citizens of Bhopal access to drinking water.

Nearly twenty years after the tragedy, justice hasn’t yet cast full light on the accident, thus delaying the right compensation of victims. While the European Union is discussing the question of environmental responsibility, while the debates at the European Council may weaken, yet a little more, the text voted by the European Parliament, it is indispensable to recall the obligations of the industrialists who work in high-risk sectors.

To enforce the principle ” polluter-payer ” (he who pollutes shall pay) is essential to ensure that justice is done and that industrial disasters victims are compensated. Moreover, the pollution of the soil and ground water, aggravated by systematic dumping of toxic products by DOW Union Carbide, keeps causing serious health problems and congenital malformations. No compensation often means not being able to get treatment. It must be said that in Bhopal, medical care is in a large extent, given freely thanks to determined actors of the Indian civil society, such as Satinath Sarangi wo runs the Sambhavna Clinic : there, treatment is provided freely to survivors. For nearly twenty years now, the environmental catastrophe has been followed by a health disaster.

In the background, the question of a policy of chemicals emerges. The report of Inger Schorling Swedish Green European MP- shows the limits of goodwill in a sector which could be tempted, should a more severe legislation be adopted, to transfer part of its activities to countries unable by lack of means- to enforce such strict laws.

Marie Anne Isler Béguin

Inger Schorling

Paul Lannoye

Members of The Green / FEA goup at the European Parliament

Translation by Carmela Pizarroso (Toulouse)

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