BACKLASH OVER LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC SPONSORS
Aug 22 2011 by Web Editor
Dow Chemical will fund a £7m fabric wrapping that will adorn the Olympic stadium next year.
A CAMPAIGN is mounting to force David Cameron to intervene in a row over a controversial sponsorship of London’s Olympic stadium.
Senior MP Keith Vaz has expressed “amazement” at a decision by Games boss Lord Coe to ask Dow Chemical to fund a £7million fabric wrapping bearing the company’s symbol that will adorn the stadium next year.
He has told Dow that if it has money to spare it should be donated to the victims of the Bhopal chemical plant.
Dow is the owner of Union Carbide, which operated the plant in India which suffered a catastrophic gas leak in 1984. Campaigners claim that and groundwater pollution before and after has killed up to 25,000 people. Although Dow says it didn’t own Union Carbide until 2001 and that a “full and final” settlement of $470million (£285million) was agreed with India in 1989, campaigners say the plant’s pollution causes babies to be born maimed to this day.
A Sunday Express article two weeks ago has provoked fury in India where politicians and Olympians have even called for a boycott of the London Games. Many highlight the irony of Lord Coe’s boast to have cleaned up a contaminated site in east London, only to help Dow detoxify its legacies now.
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal has written to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to register an official protest with David Cameron to say that Dow is a “fugitive from justice”.
Dow remains the subject of a number of civil and criminal court actions in India. Last year, the Indian government filed its own court case asking Dow for another $1.1billion.
In their letter to Mr Singh, the campaigners write: “We have been waiting for you to register a strong objection to the UK Government.”
Labour MP Mr Vaz said: “Dow should honour the $1.1billion commitment if they feel they have enough to pay for the Olympics.”
By Ted Jeory, Sunday Express