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Bhopal Activists Confront Dow Chemical CEO Michael Parker
Disrupt Houston Luncheon with Demands that Dow Clean Up their Liabilities in Bhopal

Houston 23 October, 1.30pm – Activists today interrupted a planned speech by Dow Chemical CEO Michael Parker, presenting him with authentic Indian brooms and a request that he take the symbolic gifts to show he will responsibly clean up his company’s liabilities in Bhopal, India.

Mr. Parker, a guest speaker at the Tenth Annual Houston Conservation Leadership Awards luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown, appeared shocked when approached by Bhopal activist, Houston resident and India native G Krishnaveni, who appeared at the luncheon in traditional Indian dress to offer Mr. Parker the brooms. Mr. Parker did not take the brooms and attempted to repeatedly interrupt Ms. Krishnaveni, while other activists passed out literature and held signs and banners inside the hotel.

"Dow must stop their stalling and take responsibility for the Bhopal tragedy," Ms. Krishnaveni stated. “The Bhopal disaster is far from over. With contaminated soil and ground water siting atop a still uncontained factory site, today babies are poisoned through a 'slow-motion Bhopal' by the toxins in their mother’s breast milk. Court cases in India and the United States are pending against Dow; while Dow drags their feet in court, Bhopalis are dying," she added.

Dow, who spent nearly 10 billion dollars (US) to purchase Union Carbide Corporation in February of 2001, has yet to deal with the toxic legacy of Carbide’s Bhopal pesticide plant, the site of the world’s largest industrial disaster. The infamous December 2, 1984 methyl isocyanate and hydrogen cyanide gas leak killed an estimated 8,000 within a few days; in total over 20,000 people have perished.

Joining Ms. Krishnaveni today was Seadrift, Texas, shrimper-turned-activist Diane Wilson. Ms. Wilson, whose nearly month-long hunger strike and civil disobedience at Dow’s Seadrift facility this summer, pressed Dow on their double standards. "When Dow bought Union Carbide last year, they settled outstanding asbestos litigation here in Texas. Instead of also constructively dealing with Bhopal, they attempt to greenwash their public image by sponsoring a conservation awards luncheon to the tune of $40,000. Where is the justice here?"

Greenpeace Campaigner Rob Fish, also present at today’s event, took note with the form letter reply that Mr. Parker and Dow have sent to the over 30,000 people who have requested that Dow take responsibility in Bhopal.

“Mr. Parker tells concerned citizens that Dow is engaged in meaningful dialogue with groups in Bhopal to discuss their concerns. This is simply not true. This international coalition has made their aims quite clear to Mr. Parker, expressing them to him directly during a meeting at this May’s Dow shareholder meeting in Midland, Michigan. Until we receive a meaningful and substantive reply from Dow that reflects our demands, our pressure will continue,” Fish said.

The International Coalition for Justice in Bhopal is calling on Dow Chemical to face trial in Indian and American courts, to clean up the Bhopal factory site at its expense as would be required in the U.S., to secure long-term medical treatment facilities and medical rehabilitation for the survivors of the poisonous gas leak, to ensure economic compensation for the gas-affected people and their families, and to provide clean drinking water.

To hear the story from the horse's mouth, contact:
G. Krishnaveni, International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal on (832) 444-1731
Rob Fish, Greenpeace on (202) 415-0813
Photos and videography of event available upon request

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