Tag Archives: water contamination

Building a Memorial on the highly contaminated Union Carbide factory site is a “planned cover-up” of the crimes of Dow Chemical against the environment and people of Bhopal

Press Conference
7 July 2021

At a press conference today leaders of four organizations working with survivors of the Union Carbide disaster called the state government’s move to build a memorial on the highly contaminated factory site, a “planned cover-up” of the crimes of Dow Chemical against the environment and people in Bhopal.

Continue reading Building a Memorial on the highly contaminated Union Carbide factory site is a “planned cover-up” of the crimes of Dow Chemical against the environment and people of Bhopal

Survivors: Bhopal Municipal Corporation Submitted False Affidavit to Supreme Court Regarding Drinking Water Quality

Press Conference / हिन्दी पत्रकार वार्ता

October 25, 2018

At a Press Conference today, leaders of four organizations of survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal charged the Bhopal Municipal Corporation of submitting a false affidavit to the Supreme Court of India regarding quality of drinking water. They said that a formal complaint with proof of wrongdoing was submitted to the Chief Secretary more than a month back but there has been no response till date.

Continue reading Survivors: Bhopal Municipal Corporation Submitted False Affidavit to Supreme Court Regarding Drinking Water Quality

Times of India: Water in SIPCOT 130 Times Toxic Limit

Sep 18 2014 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Water in Sipcot 130 times toxic limit
Bosco Dominique
Cuddalore:
In Cuddalore, High Lead, Cadmium
The groundwater in and around the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (Sipcot) in Cuddalore contains carcinogenic chemicals and is unfit for human consumption, according to an analysis by the Sipcot Area Community Environmental Monitors (Sacem).Many of the main parameters were found to be higher than permissible levels, including total dissolved solids (TDS), total hardness, pH, turbidity, magnesium, calcium, sulphates and chlorides as prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards. Tamil Na du Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) analysed samples from 11 locations, including two outside the Sipcot complex between February 2013 and April 2014.Sacem found samples had major toxin levels much higher than permissible limits and that the water was unfit for consumption. It released the analysis on September 17 at Cuddalore. Continue reading Times of India: Water in SIPCOT 130 Times Toxic Limit

For World Water Day, ICJB Asks UNEP to Take Action on Ongoing Soil & Ground Water Contamination

 

ICJB photo
ICJB photo
To

Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Michel Jarraud, Chair of United Nations Water (UN-Water)
Georg Kell, Executive Director, Global Compact
Robert Skinner, Associate Director, The United Nations Foundation, New York 

cc: Gavin Power, Deputy Director/Issue Management – CEO Water mandate, Global Compact
Lila Karbassi, Issue Management – Environment, Global Compact
Alex Stein, Managing Director, Foundation for the Global compact
Anita Househam, Issue Management – Supply chain sustainability, Global Compact
Blanca Jiménez Cisneros, Vice-Chair of United Nations Water (UN-Water)
Ndey Isatou Njie, Secretary of United Nations Water (UN-Water)

March 22, 2014

On the occasion of World Water Day, the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) commends UN Water’s efforts to draw attention to the limited supply of freshwater in developing and emerging economies and its focus on “the bottom billion”. In this regard, we wish to bring to your notice the double standards of the Dow Chemical Company, which claims to be involved in global water sustainability, but refuses to clean-up the environmental pollution – and subsequent groundwater contamination – in Bhopal, India caused by the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, which took the lives of approximately 7,000 people within the first week. This disaster has resulted in 25,000 deaths to date, and chronic health problems amongst almost 150,000 people. Widespread soil and groundwater contamination, which stems from recklessly dumped hazardous waste, endangers the health of 50,000 residents in 22 communities up to three kilometers away from the now-abandoned factory site. It is UCCs hazardous design of their Bhopal-plant, including its waste-disposal system, that led to this tragedy and the subsequent soil and groundwater contamination. Despite a 1989 private investigation by UCC-affiliated scientists that found 100% fish mortality, UCC and now, Dow Chemical, continues to deny their involvement in groundwater contamination in Bhopal.

Decades of consuming contaminated groundwater has led to a number of health issues in the affected communities, including headaches, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, and skin rashes, as well as a rise in birth deformities. This is in addition to the health problems present amongst those that were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) in the Bhopal gas disaster, which include sickness in respiratory, ocular, neurological, neuromuscular, gynecological, reproductive and endocrine systems.

Now, as a result of a directive from the Indian Supreme Court and a lengthy struggle by survivor groups, the state government of Madhya Pradesh has started supplying clean piped water to residents of the 22 water-affected communities. However, these measures only provide temporary relief. Approximately 10,000 metric tonnes of hazardous waste from UCC’s abandoned factory continues to pollute the soil/groundwater, and is spreading beyond these 22 communities. These toxins will continue to impact more and more communities in Bhopal, until the site is remediated.

Despite claims on its website, of “promoting sustainable water use policies and practices … [and] calling for greater collaboration between government, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders to help solve the global water crisis”, Dow Chemical has refused to address environmental pollution and subsequent groundwater contamination in Bhopal, India. In fact, Dow Chemical has a lengthy history of denying and refusing to remediate sites of environmental pollution that they have caused. This includes dioxin contamination of the Tittabawase in Midland MI, as well as Agent Orange use in the Vietnam War, which has led to soil/groundwater contamination, in addition to cancers, reproductive health problems and a host of other medical issues amongst those exposed. 

In effect, we reiterate the demand made in our previous letter that Dow Chemical’s membership in the United Nations Foundation be terminated, and that a commitment to the Precautionary Principle, the Polluter Pays Principle and Communities’ Right to Know be a requirement for membership in the United Nations Foundation. We also ask that UNEP, with support from the Government of India and UN Water, undertake a comprehensive scientific assessment of the depth and spread of the contaminants in and around the factory in order to develop a site remediation plan.

On behalf of The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North America (ICJB-NA),

Reena Shadaan
Community Relations Officer,
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North America
reena.shadaan (at) icjb.org

Renu Pariyadath
Member – Community Relations Working Group,
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North America
renu.pariyadath (at) gmail.com

Photo Credit: Jack Laurenson

17 January 2014 – Statement of Solidarity

The West Virginia Chemical Spill: 
Solidarity from the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North America (ICJB-NA) expresses solidarity with the communities of West Virginia that are facing a toxic nightmare. The Freedom Industries chemical spill and the Union Carbide Corporation’s (UCC) chemical leak in Bhopal, India share many similarities, namely: (1) Unsafe design; (2) Unsafe location; (3) Failure to report to official bodies; (4) Denial of the leak by the Corporation immediately after the incident; (5) Inadequate information available on the leaked chemical and on an appropriate response, and; (6) Government’s negligence in regulation.

It will soon be thirty years since the people of Bhopal, India were exposed to 40 tons of the highly toxic, methyl isocyanate (MIC) due to the hazardous design/cost-cutting decisions of UCC, now owned by the Dow Chemical Company. As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, we wish to express solidarity with your struggle and reiterate our vision –“No More Bhopals”. We demand an end to chemical leaks and spills that pose threats to the safety of our environment and health, including the health of future generations.

The contamination of our water – the most precious resource for human life – is a heinous crime. Like you, Bhopalis have faced widespread groundwater contamination since 1981, even predating the gas disaster of 1984. Additionally, the site of the disaster has yet to be cleaned up, resulting in further soil and groundwater contamination. Most of the affected communities have been forced to rely on this water containing dangerously high levels of mercury, heavy metals and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). This has led to a host of health problems, including headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, abdominal pain, as well as reproductive health problems, including the suppression of lactation, birth defects and developmental disabilities. This is in addition to the chronic health problems already experienced by survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster, which include sickness in the respiratory, ocular, neurological, neuromuscular, and gynecological systems. Survivor groups led a relentless campaign for years and in 2012, the state government of Madhya Pradesh constructed pipelines to supply clean water to the affected communities.

Toxic facilities are routinely situated in areas populated by the poor, working-class and/or racial minorities and, left to self-regulate, chemical industries will continue to pose a threat to the lives and environments of such communities. UCC’s Bhopal plant was situated alarmingly close to several slum communities, populated by some of the most marginalized sections of Indian society. The same rings true in North America. The Navajo nation faces the depletion of their water resources and pollution at the hands of the Peabody Western Coal Company. This has led to an increase in respiratory health issues, which first became apparent in the late 1960s, but like Bhopal, the struggle continues decades later. In Canada, the Anishinaabe nation lives on the Aamjiwnaang reservation in “Chemical Valley,” an area that is home to 40% of Canada’s chemical industry. A 2005 community-based study found that of 132 women surveyed, 39% had at least one stillbirth or miscarriage. These are a few cases in a wider problem of toxic facilities being routinely situated in areas populated by indigenous communities, African-American communities, working-class white communities and other marginalized communities.

Governments must enact regulation that will ensure the safety of communities near and workers within toxic facilities, and ensure that polluting facilities are held responsible. In effect, we demand that the precautionary principle, the community’s right to know, and the polluter pays principle guide all regulation related to chemical facilities.

In Solidarity,

The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North America

Contact:

Reena Shadaan (reena.shadaan@icjb.org) / Renu Pariyadath (renu.pariyadath@gmail.com)

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North America (ICJB-NA)

icjb.us.ab@gmail.com