Mumbai students join the Global Day of Action Against Corporate Crime; Remember

Its the nineteenth anniversay of the world's worst industrial disaster

Feature story - December 3, 2003
MUMBAI, India — Mumbai, 3 December, 2003: On the 19th anniversary of the world's worst industrial disaster, the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984, students and activists from International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) held a protest activity at Marine Drive in Mumbai as part of the Global Day of Action against Corporate Crime.

Bhopal; the icon of the world's worst industrial crime

Over 100 students, volunteers and activists lay down on the Marine Drive sidewalk to recreate the horror of Bhopal where the streets were lined with corpses the day after the world's worst industrial disaster. As chalk outlines were drawn around the 'bodies' on Marine Drive the activists held up banners that said 'Remember Bhopal' and 'Dow - you have the blood of Bhopal on your hands.'

On the night of December 2nd - 3rd 1984, more than 8000 people were killed when 27 tons of lethal gases including methyl iso cyanate (MIC) leaked from Union Carbide's pesticide factory (now owned by Dow Chemicals) in Bhopal. Today, at least 150,000 people, including children born to gas-exposed parents, suffer debilitating exposure-related health effects. The death toll has risen over

20,000, and at least 30 persons continue to die each month from exposure-related illnesses.

"This protest is to remind the world that the tragedy of Bhopal is far from over," said Greenpeace scientist, Ruth Stringer, speaking from Mumbai. "The abandoned factory site contains stockpiles of dangerous chemicals. Solvents spilled or leached into the soil have migrated into the ground water. Many local inhabitants still use this contaminated water for cooking, washing and drinking. Until the site is cleaned to the highest possible standards, the health of the people of Bhopal remains at risk," she added.

"As we enter the 20th year of our struggle for justice, we thank our supporters worldwide for acknowledging the ongoing health, environment and social disaster caused by the refusal of the Government and the polluter "Dow-Carbide" to address pending liabilities in Bhopal. We are confident that the coming year will be a watershed for Dow Chemical and the Indian Government as grassroots globalisation forces them to address the pending criminal and civil liabilities in Bhopal." said Rashida Bee of ICJB.

Greenpeace also invited people around the world today to support survivors of the Bhopal disaster and help persuade Dow Chemical to clean up the disaster site. Visitors to the Greenpeace website can bid for bottles of contaminated Bhopal well water. Greenpeace will deliver the bottles directly to Dow offices worldwide, on behalf of the highest bidders, along with a message to Dow to clean up Bhopal. All proceeds will go to Bhopal survivors. (2)

"Bhopal has become the icon for corporate negligence resulting in death and destruction, representing the thousand Bhopal-like disasters that take place all across India," said Vinod Shetty, an eminent lawyer and ICJB activist, "A similar tragedy occurred recently at Sangamner, just a few hours' journey away from Mumbai, as chlorine gas leaked out of a factory owned by Mangalam Drugs and Organics Ltd . Such accidents will continue to occur unless we secure justice for the people of Bhopal, and establish strong precedent to remind corporations of their responsibility towards the environment and the community they operate in."

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) is calling on Dow Chemical to face criminal liability charges as owners of Union Carbide in the ongoing case pending in the Bhopal District Court and ensure that prime accused Warren Anderson, former chairman of Union Carbide appears to face trial in India

Provide for long-term medical care, monitoring and research of the survivors and their future generations.; Provide for comprehensive environmental remediation, within and outside the factory, and of the contaminated groundwater. Ensure immediate supply of safe drinking water to the affected communities; Dow must provide livelihood opportunities to the survivors.