OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Activists Confront Dow Chemical CEO Michael Parker
Disrupt Houston Luncheon with Demands
that Dow Clean Up their Liabilities in Bhopal
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 companys liabilities in Bhopal, India.
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 mothers breast milk. Court
cases in India and the United States are pending against
Dow; while Dow drags their feet in court, Bhopalis are dying,"
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 Carbides Bhopal pesticide
plant, the site of the worlds 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 Dows 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 todays
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
Mays Dow shareholder meeting in Midland, Michigan.
Until we receive a meaningful and substantive reply from
Dow that reflects our demands, our pressure will continue,
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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