In 1984, an industrial plant in Bhopal, Central India, leaked 27 tons of deadly gas. Thousands in the local area were killed and over half a million were exposed, making it one of the world’s worst industrial catastrophes. 27 years later, toxic water and soil contamination means the situation remains a humanitarian and environmental tragedy affecting thousands.
The multi-billion dollar company now responsible for the site in Bhopal is neglecting their duty to clean up the area, continuing to place thousands of lives at risk. That company is Dow Chemical -- a major sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics; an event that supposedly prides itself on its ethical and environmental policies.
Having spent six moths living and working in Bhopal at the Sambhavna clinic, I witnessed first hand the continued devastating impact of the contamination nearly three decades after the closure of the factory. I watched as children played on 'solar evaporation ponds' (toxic dumping grounds); I walked through the former factory site avoiding the blobs of mercury and jars full of chemicals with hazard labels still clearly visible that lie scattered on the ground; I listened as local people told stories of having no choice but to drink, bathe and cook with water that smells odd and that they know makes them sick.
Given these experiences of the ongoing situation in Bhopal I find it completely unacceptable that Dow Chemical are pouring millions into sponsorship of the London Olympics rather than supporting those affected by the disaster in Bhopal. Please sign the petition and show that you also don't support this partnership.
On 9th January, outside the Olympic clock in Trafalgar Square, my friend and Bhopal survivor, Farah Edwards Khan,issued a challenge to Lord Coe. She asked that if he is to continue supporting Dow's sponsorship, he should first travel to Bhopal and drink the groundwater, which has for many years been the sole drinking water supply for thousands of local people. The CSE (Centre for Science and Environment) and the BBC have tested the Bhopal ground water and found it to be contaminated with highly toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Greenpeace describe this area as a "Global Toxic Hotspot." Lord Coe has, surprisingly, not yet responded to our invitation.
I issue the same challenge to Lord Coe - go to Bhopal, meet the victims and drink the water or drop Dow as a sponsor.
For more information about Bhopal please visit: http://www.bhopal.org/thanks-for-visiting-the-bhopal-medical-appeal/