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25th anniversary of Bhopal chemical disaster prompts more than 150 actions worldwide (12/4)

December 4, 2009
KEYWORDS environment
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To commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Bhopal Chemical Disaster, thousands of supporters around the world rallied yesterday in an International Day of Action to pressure Dow Chemical (the current owner of Union Carbide) to clean up the water in Bhopal and face criminal charges in India.

The Day of Action included mass rallies, symbolic “die-ins”, candle-lit vigils, concerts, protests and more. Participants honored the night in 1984 when 27 tons of lethal gases leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide factory, immediately killing 8,000 people and poisoning thousands of others. The area was never cleaned up, and nearly 150,000 people, including children of survivors, are suffering tremendously as a result.

This week two new reports, by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (www.cseindia.org) and the UK-based Bhopal Medical Appeal (www.bhopal.org), confirmed a second chemical disaster in Bhopal, caused by contamination of soil and groundwater by Carbide's toxic wastes. The BMA report, incorporating results of three water samples tested in a top-quality Swiss laboratory, found that levels of Carbon Tetrachloride and chloroform in the groundwater has increased over the years. This, according to BMA, indicates that the Union Carbide site has been leaking poisons for more than two decades.

“Bhopal cannot be ignored any longer,” said Shana Ortman, US Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. “Dow prides itself on a commitment to the ‘Human Element’ yet they are ignoring the people who are suffering the most due to the company’s own in-action.”

Amnesty International led two online actions on December 2 – sending emails to the Dow Chemical Corporation and to the Prime Minister of India.

On December 3, thousands of supporters were asked to call members of the Dow Board of Directors, calling on them to face their responsibilities in Bhopal.

More than 100 actions took place across India, including a massive rally from Bhopal’s Bharat Talkies to the Union Carbide factory.

All of these groups, including the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, are demanded that:


  • The Indian government clean up Bhopal now to prevent further spread of the toxins, and use the courts to get reimbursed by Dow.


  • Dow’s subsidiary, Union Carbide, show up in court to face trial in the ongoing criminal proceedings against them in India.


  • The Indian Government establish the “empowered commission” that they promised in August 2008 to address the health, environmental, social, and economic issues in Bhopal.


  • The Indian Government finish building pipelines to bring clean water to the people in and around Bhopal immediately.

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