Activists in eight countries join Amnesty International in
demanding Bhopal clean up and accountability of Dow Chemical
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Contact: Khelan Bhatt, 847.769.1619 Kamayani Keki, 262.896.1549
March 8, 2005: Chicago, Illinois, USA – On International Women’s Day, dozens of activists from the South Asian Progressive Action Collective, Association for India’s Development, and other organizations delivered jhaadoos -Indian brooms – to Chicago-area Dow Chemical representatives attending the National Manufacturing Week industry tradeshow, urging the company to clean up the still-contaminated site at Bhopal, India that was home of the world’s worst industrial disaster over two decades ago. The action came on the heels of an Amnesty International report that called Dow’s denials of responsibility on the matter “misleading… when at the same time hundreds of thousands of people are still suffering…”
On December 3rd, 1984, a toxic cloud of gas from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, enveloped the surrounding city, leaving thousands dead. More than 20,000 have died to date. More than 120,000 people still suffer from severe health problems as a result of their exposure.
Despite acquiring Union Carbide, Dow Chemical has refused to address Carbide’s pending liabilities in Bhopal, including medical and economic rehabilitation of victims, clean up of toxic wastes and contaminated groundwater, and provision of safe drinking water. Dow has also refused to produce Union Carbide to face trial in Indian court where the company is wanted for manslaughter.
“It is outrageous that people still drink contaminated water and suffer diseases without medical care due to a 20 year old disaster,” said Kamayani Swami, Association for India’s Development. “Dow Chemical must take responsibility and clean up the site immediately.”
In a report released Nov. 29, Amnesty International called on Dow Chemical to “…provide promptly full reparations, restitution, compensation and rehabilitation for the continuing damage done to people’s health and environment by the ongoing contamination of the site.” Amnesty officials also emphasized that “Human rights have been violated on a massive scale…”
In 2003, 18 members of US Congress including Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky called Dow subsidiary, Union Carbide an “absconder from justice” and described Dow’s refusal to deal with the tragedy as a “blatant disregard for the law.” The Congressional members concluded that “The disaster in Bhopal continues, and is likely to worsen if Dow Chemical does not step forward to fulfill its responsibilities.”
B-Roll of the Bhopal tragedy is available upon request