18 April, 2010. NEW DELHI
Hindustan Sea Turtle Alliance (HASTA), organizers of the Live Earth Run for Water in New Delhi, revealed today that they were a fictitious group set up to expose the global event as Dow Chemical’s attempt to sidestep its legal responsibilities by engaging in greenwash. The Dow Live Earth Run for water has received millions of dollars in sponsorship from Dow allegedly to increase awareness about issues of global water scarcity. “We are doing this to expose the irony of Dow sponsoring a global awareness campaign on water scarcity, even while it is being called upon by communities from Bhopal to Michigan to clean up precious water resources damaged by Dow’s activities,” said Rachna Dhingra of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.
HASTA was formed after several attempts to highlight the water problems caused by Dow Chemical in Bhopal and other places in Live Earth’s facebook and twitter platforms were systematically blocked by Live Earth organizers. Inspired by anti-corporate pranksters The Yes Men, Bhopal activists registered themselves as a “friend of live earth” by pretending to be an organization set up by the guilt ridden wife of a steel industrialist. (www.seaturtlealliance.org ).
Interestingly, when fictitious HASTA employee “Rohit Jain” called Dow India spokesperson Roysten D’mello, he was advised by D’mello to consider dropping any reference to Dow in HASTA’s communications. “Use only LiveEarth’s name. Don’t use Dow’s name. You should be ok,” he told “Rohit.”
Featuring paintings, a fortune-teller, snake charmer, juggler, magician and other lively communicators, the counter Live Earth event took visitors and passers-by through a colourful, multimedia display of Dow Chemical’s global track record of pollution, corruption and subverting democracy.
www.bhopal.net lists Bhopal, Vietnam, New Zealand, Michigan, Louisiana, Brazil, Texas as Dow legacy sites where severe water contamination was caused due to products or facilities of Dow or its subsidiaries. In Dow’s headquarters, Midland, Michigan, the waters and sediment of the River Tittabawassee are so polluted with the super-toxin dioxin from Dow’s factories upstream that local people have been warned to avoid contact with river sediment and to not eat river fish.
Till date, more than 850 people have signed a petition asking Live Earth to dissociate from Dow Chemical, and instead lend their voice to the global call to make Dow clean up the toxic contamination in Bhopal and provide clean water to Bhopalis. More than 20,000 people in Bhopal are still drinking water laced with poisons leaching from the toxic wastes the company left buried and strewn in and around its factory in Bhopal.
Bhopal supporters around the world, including Amnesty International, are protesting Dow’s sponsorship of Live Earth in Vancouver (Canada), Chile, Switzerland, Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Houston in USA. Meanwhile, organizers of events in Stockholm (Sweden), Milan (Italy), Berlin (Germany), London (UK), and Chennai (India) have either cancelled the events or dissociated themselves from Dow and Live Earth.
For more information, contact: Rachna Dhingra: +91 9582314869