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Carbide papers: Unproven technology used in Bhopal


November 22, 2002

FIRST PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED IN BHOPAL


New evidence highlights Dow Chemical's environmental liability in Bhopal

Organizations campaigning for justice in the case of the December '84 Union Carbide disaster today presented new evidence that throws light on corporate liability for the toxic contamination of the ground water and soil in Bhopal. The evidence consists of internal documents of Union Carbide Corporation that is now publicly available following a discovery motion in the class action suit filed by seven individual and five plaintiff organizations from Bhopal.

According to Mrs. Champa Devi Shukla, Secretary, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, these documents show that despite being aware of the danger and despite the further damage being done to communities already suffering from the effects of its poison gases the company issued no warnings and took no action to stop the contamination, but continued to insist publicly that local drinking wells were safe. " Meanwhile Union Carbide was making strenuous behind-the-scenes efforts to rid itself of responsibility for the site." she said.

Last week, plaintiff organizations presented documents that revealed that Union Carbide and its ex-CEO Warren Anderson had imposed "unproven technology" in the most dangerous part of the plant in order to cut costs and maintain absolute control of their Indian subsidiary.

According to Mr. Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, the new set of documents show that as early as 1972, Carbide's American managers discussed the danger of ground-water pollution from the factory. "The documents also show that while Carbide's officials themselves doubted the findings of the study by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), they continued to cite the flawed study to mislead the public and the central and state governments" said Sarangi.

"These documents show that Carbide's officials knew that by 1989 the ground water was severely poisoned" he added.

FLICK DEAD FISH FOR EXCERPT OF CARBIDE DOCUMENT

After publicly quoting NEERI's study, Carbide carried out its own emergency investigation and found severe poisoning of land and water. Samples taken near the factory wall adjacent to a nearby settlement caused 100% toxicity in fish. The company did not make these findings public and never warned local people that their drinking wells might be poisoned. Dow-Carbide continues to assert to this day that there is no danger to local drinking water.

According to Champa Devi "The new evidence not only compound the crimes against humanity committed by Union Carbide, they clearly establish the serious liability of Dow Chemical, Carbide's new owner. Dow announced its merger with Union Carbide in August 1999 less than a year after Carbide's scientists found deadly poisons in the ground water. Dow knows that a whole new generation is today being poisoned in Bhopal and so far has done nothing to prevent it".

According to independent experts, the clean up of contamination could cost Dow up to $500 million.

Commenting on the role of the Madhya Pradesh government the activists said that these documents show that the government first collaborated with Union Carbide in suppressing information on contamination and then was itself hoodwinked by the Corporation. "The state government can still redeem itself by filing an amicus curae statement in support of the class action suit in the USA and presenting a white paper on the situation of soil and ground water contamination." said Champa Devi.

Mrs. Champa Devi Shukla,
Secretary, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Satinath Sarangi, Member, Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Contact :
1. House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal Tel: 9827238637
2. B-2 / 302, Sheetal Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal Email: justiceinbhopal@yahoo.co.in

THE RELEVANT UNION CARBIDE DOCUMENTS (UPWARDS OF 100 PAGES) WILL BE AVAILABLE
ON THIS WEBSITE WITHIN THE NEXT 12 HOURS, TOGETHER WITH OUR DETAILED ANALYSIS

 
 
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