DOW CHEMICALS ACCEPTS BROOMS, CONTAMINATED SOIL AND WATER FROM BHOPAL
SURVIVORS; WILL RECOMMEND REMEDIATION MEASURES
Bombay/ December 2, 2002: In a major step forward, Dow Chemicals,
India, accepted contaminated soil, water and brooms from the Bhopal gas
affected survivors and their international supporters on the eve of the
18th anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster. Mr. Anand Vohra, Director
Finance, Dow Chemicals, assured the delegation from the International
Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, that he would personally recommend to
"higher authorities" in Dow that remediation measures
be undertaken to alleviate the suffering of the gas affected people.
The activists of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal also
delivered to Dow Chemical more than 4000 brooms collected from Bhopal,
Chennai and Trivandrum and told the company to clean up Bhopal and address
all pending liabilities without further delay. Dow Chemical, which acquired
Union Carbide in February 2001, has refused to address Carbides
pending liabilities in Bhopal.
Last October, gas-affected women issued an international appeal to people
asking them to collect used jhadoos (brooms) to use against Dow. "In
India, the broomstick is a woman's weapon. Being struck by a jhadoo is
the ultimate insult, and we feel that Dow deserves this treatment. By
delivering jhadoos to Dow, were telling the company to clean up
its mess in Bhopal or be prepared to be swept out of the planet,"
said Mrs. Champa Devi Shukla, a gas victim and leader of a womans
trade union of gas-affected women workers. "Dows reluctance
so far, to clean up the contamination and take responsibility for the
pending liabilities in Bhopal is poisoning people daily and aggravating
the sufferings of survivors and their children," she said.
Union Carbide Corporations confidential internal documents released
(See "Poison Papers") reveal that the company knew about
the extent and nature of contamination at the Bhopal factory site. However,
Union Carbide did little to clean up the contamination before handing
over the site to the State Government.
Hundred of tonnes of highly toxic waste lies abandoned at the pesticide
factory site since the multi-national fled the country after a poisonous
gas leak at its plant caused the world's worst industrial disaster, killing
8,000 people in its immediate aftermath. More than 20,000 people have
died till date. At least one person a day still dies from gas-exposure
related diseases and 150,000 are in urgent need of medical attention.
The poisons have seeped into groundwater and a recent study by Fact Finding
Mission, New Delhi has found high levels of mercury in mothers milk,
residing around the factory.
Although the containment action by ICJB members on November 25th
was brutally thwarted by the Bhopal Police, we will continue targeting
Dow with reminders of its ongoing crimes against the victims of the worlds
worst disaster until Dow cleans up the contamination in Bhopal, and ensure
that it addresses all pending issues including provision of medical and
economic rehabilitation, said Von Hernandez, spokesperson for Greenpeace
"Over the coming months, Dow will have to face up to growing public
opposition to its irresponsible behavior in India. Already, people of
Mumbai have been alerted of their unfriendly neighbor," said Vinod
Shetty, Mumbai convenor for the National Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.
"Well continue to build public opinion against Dow Chemical
until it owns up to its liabilities in Bhopal," he said.
information contact :
In Mumbai: Shweta Narayan. Tel: 9820659202
In Bhopal.Rashida Bi. Tel: 9827238637
www.bhopal.net ; www.greenpeace.org
Shailendra Yashwant Tel - ++ 91-9823042490