Statement of Gianfranco Bettin,
Deputy Mayor of Venice, and friends

 

Bhopal approaching Venice

Venezia, 3 August 2002 Flavio Dal Corso

One can not imagine how many situations link the tragedy of Bhopal with Venice.
         Bhopal became sadly notorious all over the world because of the dreadful accident at the Union Carbide chemical factory (now absorbed by Dow Chemical).
         Close to Venezia, in the neighbourhood, is one of the most important chemical sites of all Europe: Dow Chemical recently acquired a large proportion of its productive industrial capacity. Over many years of fierce political struggle, protest movements have been demanding the clean-up of contaminated land and the end of production methods that have intensely polluted the air, the water, the ground of the Venezia lagoon.
          Recently the heads of these chemical factories, going back thirty years, were brought to trial on charges of causing deaths and eco-disaster. The first phase of this historic trial ended with the executives and their safety chiefs being found "not guilty".
          A very courageous judge took on the heavy charges, which were based on the evidence of a detailed dossier, compiled by a worker, Gabriele Bortolozzo and the association "Democratic Medicine", run by doctors and eco-movements. The dossier clearly proved that 300 workers died of cancer during twenty years of working in the "Cloruro di Vinile Monomero" and "
Polivinile di Cloruro" production plants.
          The Chief Executives of these plants had demonstrated a lack of interest, and negligence (this was the charge laid by the public prosecutor). Even though they were aware of the risks and injuries caused by their chemical processes, they never spent a penny to strengthen safety systems as their only interest was to limit production costs. Nor was any information or precautionary training given to make the workers conscious of the risks they were facing.
          Nowadays in the Porto Marghera area, there are many daily reports of gas leaks, and accidents that happen to obsolete and untrustworthy chemical plants.
          A recent European law called "Seveso" and a more recent one called "Lione" restrict the activities of chemical factories: they order the factories to invest huge amount of money on safety systems before 2006/7 otherwise they will be definitively closed.           
          Unfortunately until that deadline the companies are choosing not to face these problems.


These are all links that make Venice and Bhopal very similar. For just this reason we too thought it right to offer support and solidarity to the activists and the movements for justice in Bhopal by joining their hunger strike (from 13 to 17 July)and publicising the action in local and Italian newspapers .We want to launch other initiatives before the next Bhopal Court hearing fixed on the 27 August.

To you all go our affection, admiration and sympathy,


Gianfranco Bettin: Deputy Mayor of Venice
Flavio Dal Corso : City Councillor (Green Party) of Venice
Luana Zanella : Italian and Euro-Parliement Deputy (Green Party)
Ezio Da Villa : Social Environment Chairman of Venice
Beppe Caccia : Social Political Chairman of Venice
Cristiano Gasparetto, Franca Marcomin, Carla Furiato, Angelo Fodde, Marco Manente, Walter Cabianca, Silvano Pavan, Alberto Ferro, Luciana Castagnaro, Tommaso Cintolo, Alberto Piovan, Andrea Ballin, "Associazione Gabriele Bortolozzo" di Mestre (VE).

 

A pictorial report on the pollution and destruction of Venice's lagoon

Houston Chronicle account of the trial and issues

Reuters report on acquittal of the companies on trial

The city of Venice website

A.C.Venezia football club - official site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pollution of the air, the earth and the water. Just like Bhopal.

 

Toxic sludge. Just like Bhopal.

 

 

Polluted water. Just like Bhopal.

 
 

 

Thank you, Gianfranco and friends