English dairy farmer and founder of the Glastonbury Festival, Michael Eavis CBE has become the new patron of UK-based charity, the Bhopal Medical Appeal (BMA) which funds the award-winning, free Sambhavna Clinic in Bhopal, India – site of the world’s worst industrial disaster, the 1984 Union Carbide gas leak.
Following the BMA’s growing volunteer litterpicker presence at Glastonbury – since 2004 the festival has donated over £27,000 to the charity in return for ‘litterpicker hours’ given – and in keeping with Mr Eavis’ strong commitment to charitable causes, he agreed to join the BMA in raising awareness of the second and very current disaster of water contamination.
He explained: ‘It’s hard to believe that after 26 years, the factory has not been cleaned up, and that people are still dying of the chemicals that the company left behind but it’s true, and it’s outrageous.’
‘We have a duty to help those less fortunate than ourselves. I’ve always believed in working for the community, and that for me, is a global community. We all have a huge responsibility to help these people.’
Becky Moss, Communications & Information Officer for the BMA, said: ‘We’re thrilled to have Michael as our new patron. He’s deeply respected for his down-to-earth values, as well as his love of music and creativity; he works hard and is open to new ideas – we’re now developing a campaign to highlight the contaminated water in Bhopal for Glastonbury 2011.
‘Michael joins our existing patron – Jon Snow, journalist and presenter of Channel 4 News – in our third year of becoming an independent charity, which sees the launch of our new website, an education programme and a unique auction of special artworks by internationally-recognised artists, including Subodh Gupta, Tracey Emin and Anish Kapoor.’
Bhopal survivors and supporters the world over will be lighting candles and torches on Thursday 2nd December to commemorate the victims of the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster and to celebrate the spirit of those who continue to fight for clean water and proper healthcare.