Message in a bottle

Feature story - 3 December, 2003
It's 19 years since the world's worst industrial disaster in Bhopal, India. Deadly gas leaked from the poorly maintained and understaffed plant owned by Union Carbide, killing up to 20,000 people and leaving 120,000 chronically ill. For 19 years the companies responsible have done almost nothing to help. Now you can do a little something to help the survivors of the ongoing disaster and send a message to Union Carbide's new owner Dow Chemical that it should be cleaning up its toxic mess.

On the 19th anniversary of the world's worst industrial disaster, the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984, activists from Greenpeace held a protest activity at the headquarter of Dow Chemical Europe as part of the Global Day of Action against Corporate Crime.

You can help by giving a gift to a fund for the survivors and the most generous donors will have a special 'gift' package sent to a Dow office in their name containing polluted well water from Bhopal. The well water is contaminated by dangerous chemicals leaking from the abandoned factory site. If you cannot afford to give you can also sign up to the mailing list for updates on what happens when we send the special gift packages to Dow offices and the reaction from the company.

The survivors have never received adequate compensation for their debilitating illnesses and even 19 years after the disaster, the polluted site of the abandoned factory, bleeds poisons daily into the groundwater of local residents. Bhopal is an ongoing disaster and Dow Chemical, should pay to clean up the toxic mess.

Global action

To commemorate the anniversary of the disaster our activists and concerned citizen around the world have been out to mark a global day of action against corporate crime.

India - Activists lay down on the pavement in central Mumbai to recreated the horror of Bhopal where the streets were lined with 8,000 corpses in the days after the lethal gases leaked from Carbide's pesticide factory. Survivors held their annual candlelight vigil outside the gates of the plant in Bhopal.

Switzerland - Activists in Switzerland delivered a replica of the memorial statue that stands outside the factory in Bhopal to Dow's European headquarters in Horgen.

US - Students from 26 colleges, universities and high schools organized nationwide protests. Students delivered samples of contaminated water from Bhopal to the homes of 11 of Dow's 14 board members. Although many of the deliveries were either refused or ignored, Dr. Harold T. Shapiro, the President Emeritus of Princeton University and member of Dow Chemical's Board of Directors, accepted a sample of the contaminated water following an open talk to the Princeton community on bioethics.

Demark - Our activists drew the outline of corpses on the ground in front of the Dow offices while others protested in front of the American Embassy, calling for the indictment of Warren Anderson, former CEO of Union Carbide at the time of the disaster, who is currently hiding in the US and is wanted by Interpol.

Despite resolving Union Carbide asbestos cases in the US, Dow thinks it can escape doing anything to address the disaster caused by Union Carbide because it happened in poor slum area of a far off developing country. Help prove them wrong by taking action below:

It is the season for giving - so visit our Bhopal water gift site to send a gift with a meaning to people who really need it and a message to a company that really needs to listen.