Dow's sponsorship for London Olympics sparks outrage

Dow's sponsorship for London Olympics sparks outrage

Dow's sponsorship for London Olympics sparks outrage

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games has announced that Dow Chemical would fund a "spectacular" seven million pounds artwork "wrap" around the stadium throughout next year's Games, the reported.

The decision has outraged campaigners fighting for up to 5,000 people who died in devastating chemical leak in Bhopal in 1984, the report said.

Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide Corporation, whose former Indian subsidiary ran the doomed plant, in 2001.

The company, embroiled in a compensation wrangle over Bhopal, said the USD 470 million compensation settlement reached by Union Carbide in 1989 was final. On average the families of those who died received roughly 1,400 pounds.

It has insisted it is not liable and has refused to pay more or to clear toxic waste from the site.

Slamming the company, victims' campaigners say children are still being born maimed because of poisons that continue to pollute the city's groundwater. They are backing a number of criminal and civil court cases against Union Carbide.

"Our terrible legacy is by no means over. Our children are still suffering," the report quoted them as saying.

They are also urging widespread protests, including a "Bhopal Olympics" involving disabled children.

The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to make a formal complaint to his British counterpart David Cameron.

"By dealing with a corporation like Dow, which has the blood of Bhopal on its hands, the reputation of the London Games and its legacy will be tarnished," Spokeswoman Rachna Dhingra said. Dhingra accused Dow, which also produced the Agent Orange chemical used to devastating effect by the US during the Vietnam War, of being guilty of "corporate and moral neglect", the report said.

Dow's UK boss Keith Wiggins last week admitted his industry had been responsible for "awful legacies" but said it was now time to concentrate on the good that chemicals can do.

Arundhati Muthu, Greenpeace spokesman, described the London 2012 move as "offensive"

"This crass attempt by Dow to detoxify their brand won’t wash with the thousands of victims of the Bhopal disaster, nor ordinary Londoners," Muthu said.

London Olympic chief Lord Sebastian Coe declined to comment, but London 2012 bosses said Dow was a major sponsor of the International Olympic Committee long before last week's decision. They refused to say whether they had discussed the issue of Bhopal, the report added.