The saga of injustice in Vietnam, Bhopal and other countries continues to unfold. Almost thirty years since the Bhopal gas leak at its pesticide plant in India killed an estimated 25,000 people, the death toll continues to rise.
In the Huffington Post (UK) Lorraine Close, a British nurse who lived and worked at the Sambhavna clinic in Bhopal for six months, writes that she has seen at first hand the continued impact of the contamination and deplores Dow Chemical pouring millions into sponsorship of the London Olympics, instead of supporting those affected by the disaster in Bhopal.
A challenge to Lord Sebastian Coe
Many have signed her petition on Change.org. to end this deal and on video – outside the Olympic clock in Trafalgar Square – Bhopal survivor Farah Edwards Khan can be seen as she issued a challenge to Lord Coe, who accepts Dow as a reputable sponsor.
She asked him to travel to Bhopal and drink the groundwater, which has for many years been the sole drinking water supply for thousands of local people. Lord Coe has not yet responded to this invitation.
Under corporate law Dow has inherited this liability
Dow did not own or operate the factory in Bhopal, but they acquired Union Carbide in a takeover and Lorraine insists that – under corporate law – they have inherited the liabilities as well as the assets.
Even though Dow have paid former Union Carbide asbestos workers in Texas $2.2 billion soon after acquiring the company, they refuse to compensate those in Bhopal and reinstate the environment.
No amount of money can make amends for that suffering, but payment on the Texan scale would help to ease the plight of those directly affected and those who have to live in a contaminated environment.