Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2012 Olympics, the perpetrators of the Bhopal disaster will sponsor the Games

2012 Olympics, the perpetrators of the Bhopal disaster will sponsor the Games
Nirmala Carvalho
The plastics multinational Dow Chemicals will not appear on the billboards of the Olympic stadium in London, whose value is circa 7 million pounds (8.3 million euros). Satisfaction of athletes, politicians and NGOs opposed to the sponsor. According to Lenin Raghuvanshi, human rights activist, it is important to "create consumer awareness, the true agent of change in the event of unethical policies."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The organizers of the Olympic Games have announced that plastics multinational Dow Chemicals linked to the disaster in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) is no longer a sponsor of London 2012. Indian and British human rights groups, politicians and athletes had strongly attacked the initial decision of the Games Committee to accept the funds of the company. Dow, in fact, is the current owner of the chemical plant responsible for the 1984 industrial accident that killed at least 20 thousand people, with still visible consequences for the local population.

The brand of the corporation would have appeared on the billboards around the Olympic stadium, 900m long and 20m high, to the value of 7 million pounds (8.3 million euros). As per contract, Dow still had the possibility to of a further five panels for advertising, but made known it did not wish to accept out of respect for the "anti-pollution policies" of the Olympics. The company has always rejected the accusations, pointing out that it has acquired the former Union Carbide plant in 2001.

According to Lenin Raghuvanshi, human rights activist and director of Pvchr (People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights), "this protest has been positive and symbolic, because the Olympics attract the attention of the entire international community." However, the organizers of the Games "should be careful not to go to sponsors that, in some way, may have been involved in genocide."

He also emphasizes that "every time you target business from the negative or unethical aspects, it is essential that activists involve consumers, because they are a powerful force to achieve a real change of political and economic mechanisms." For this reason, Raghuvanshi says, "First we should start a campaign in the Indian civil society, given that Dow India has a turnover of 500 million dollars."

Regarding the Bhopal tragedy, the activist recalls that "for the victims - who are mostly Dalits, tribals and other minorities - there is no systematic form of rehabilitation, or appropriate compensation. This causes still huge frustration. "

Caused by a leak of 40 tons of methyl isocyanate (cyanide) from Union Carbide pesticide plant, the Bhopal disaster is considered one of the worst environmental tragedies in history. At least 3,500 people died in the early hours of the incident and a further 20 thousand in the months ahead. The permanently disabled were put at over 150 thousand. Even today, hospitals in the area account for about 6 thousand people a day with respiratory, motor and brain problems associated with the contamination of the territory. However, the Government of Madhya Pradesh, considers the area out of danger.

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