Campaigners have condemned the sponsorship of a ‘run for water’ event by a chemicals company that refuses to take responsibility of a gas tragedy that continues to contaminate water for survivors.
Dow Chemical is sponsoring Al Gore’s Live Earth event taking place today across the globe. Participants in New York and over 150 cities around the world are running 6kms to highlight the world water crisis. The events will include water education villages and live performances from artists such as American singer John Legend and The Roots.
But campaigners in the UK are outraged that Dow Chemical is sponsoring an event to raise awareness of the world water crisis when they have continued to ignore calls from campaigners and survivors to clean up the contaminated water in Bhopal.
Last year marked 25 years since thousands of people died from a poisonous gas leak from a Union Carbide chemicals plant in Bhopal. Thousands of people are still suffering from the impacts of the disaster, which include water contamination by chemical waste.
Dow brought Union Carbide in 2001 and since then they have refused to accept Union Carbide’s liabilities and clean up Bhopal’s water.
Colin Toogood, of the Bhopal Medical Appeal, said: “Our official position has always been that we thoroughly support Live Earth, the drive to bring clean safe water to those suffering for lack of it, but at the same time we deplore the sponsorship of Dow Chemical which, along with its subsidiaries, has done more than most companies to contaminate water and soil around the world and including Bhopal.”
The Dow/ Live Earth Run for Water event is also backed by the Global Water Challenge (GWC), an umbrella organisation that is committed to achieving universal clean and sustainable water. On the official Dow/ Live Earth Run for Water website, it said, “GWC’s mission is to transform the delivery of safe water and sanitation through partnerships that catalyze financial support and innovation for sustainable solutions.”
GWC were contacted for a comment on the Dow Partnership but did not respond.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International said that Dow cannot run from the responsibility of Bhopal by sponsoring the Live Earth event.
Live Earth is the campaign founded by TV producer Kevin Wall, in partnership with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to use entertainment to highlight some of the world’s most pressing global environmental challenges.
Dow Chemicals and Live Earth were also contacted for a comment but they did not respond to emails or calls.