3 August 2002 Flavio Dal Corso
One can not imagine how many situations link the tragedy of Bhopal with
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.
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
in the Porto Marghera area, there are many daily reports of gas leaks,
and accidents that happen to obsolete and untrustworthy chemical plants.
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.
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)
Luana Zanella : Italian and Euro-Parliement
Deputy (Green Party)
Ezio Da Villa : Social Environment Chairman
Beppe Caccia : Social Political Chairman of
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).
pictorial report on the pollution and destruction of Venice's lagoon
Chronicle account of the trial and issues
report on acquittal of the companies on trial
city of Venice website
football club - official site