In May this year at Middlesex we organised the screening of Bhopali, a powerful film on the terrible consequences of the explosion of the Union Carbide factory in December 1984 in Bhopal, India.
On Sunday I will be running the London 10K, raising money for the Bhopal Medical Appeal, a charity that helps alleviate the suffering of the tens of thousands of people maimed by exposure to toxins released from the former pesticides factory. The main focus of the Bhopal Medical Appeal is to provide medical support to survivors and their children, many of whom were born with disabilities. Their work is simply necessary, so please donate if you can. It is safe and you will not get spammed.
The Bhopal disaster has come to the fore in an unexpected way this year when it was announced that Dow Chemicals, the company that now owns Union Carbide, is an official sponsor of the 2012 London Olympics. Together with the London Mining Network and UK Tar Sands Network, the Bhopal Medical Appeal launched Greenwash Gold 2012, a campaign to raise awareness on the lack of accountability of corporations in the human rights sphere. After watching short videos, you can vote for your favourite “dodgy company”: Rio Tinto, BP or Dow.
The legal cases both in India and in the United States around the Bhopal disaster are extraordinarily complex, mix civil and criminal law and have been going on for decades. Here is an excellent, though unfortunately not updated, summary. The latest news came a few days ago with yet another dismissed claim. In short, the probability of Dow’s properly compensating victims of the disaster is very low, which means that the help provided by charities such as the Bhopal Medical Appeal is still needed.