Support for petition to ‘Drop Dow’ continues to grow

As 2012 begins, opposition to the Dow Chemical company’s sponsorship of the London 2012 games continues. A petition, demanding that the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and its chairman, Lord Coe, reconsider Dow’s involvement has now attracted nearly 18,000 signatures on the campaigning site Change.org.

Authored by Lorraine Close, a Bhopal Medical Appeal volunteer, the petition states that: “We, the public, feel that it is against the basic principles of the Olympic charter to partner with Dow Chemical; who are responsible for the current disaster in Bhopal. We request all authorities concerned to reconsider their decision on accepting sponsorship from Dow Chemicals for the London Olympics and also any future Olympic Games”

Artist's satirical interpretation of London 2012 stadium sponsored by Dow

The Bhopal Medical Appeal is also campaigning to have Dow reconsidered as an Olympic sponsor and have been joined in condemning their involvement by various high profile organisations and individuals with similar concerns.

They include, among many others:

Amnesty International

Greenpeace

Pesticides Action Network

Agent Orange Action Group

The Sambhavna Clinic

The Chingari Trust

Martin Sheen

Noam Chomsky

Various Indian & British MPs

Campaigners, including the BMA, argue that the Dow Chemical company must answer for their liability in Bhopal before they are considered an ‘ethical’ and ’sustainable’ sponsor.

Labour MP and Chairman of the Labour Friends of India organisation Barry Gardiner recently issued a challenge to Lord Coe to either sample Bhopal’s toxic water or reconsider Dow as a London 2012 partner. He stated, into TV cameras, “If he doesn’t dare do this, then he should kick Dow out of the Olympics. They have no place in what has been billed as the greenest and most sustainable Olympics ever; it can’t have Dow Chemicals associated with it.”

Recently, Dow agreed drop all branding rights to the plastic wrap it’s sponsoring for the London Olympic stadium, in the apparent hope it could avoid further criticism. In response, The Bhopal Medical Appeal said: “We’re not letting the Dow Chemical company slip into the shadows on this one, and we’re not letting LOCOG ignore the issue either. Dow bought the Union Carbide Corporation, knowing there were outstanding criminal charges against it and, whether they like it or not, they acquired the liability.”

Women gather highly contaminated water from pumps in Bhopal as no clean alternative is provided. The Dow Chemical company, who own Union carbide, claim that clean water for the world's poor is a priority for them - © JL / BMA

“Thousands continue to live with chronic illnesses in Bhopal and many die while Dow splashes their money around on lucrative sponsorship deals – it’s a disgrace. By allowing this deal to go ahead, Mayor Johnson and Lord Coe have demonstrated that they’re happy to accept Dow Chemical’s PR bluster but without a complete process of due diligence. A simple internet search would have revealed not only the criminal charges against Union Carbide but also that the Dow Chemical Company themselves are a named respondent in two Indian court cases pertaining to the Bhopal disaster.”

You can add your voice to this continuing fight by signing the Change.org petition to drop Dow Chemicals from London 2012. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get information as the campaign develops.

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We believe Dow & DuPont must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.