The appointment of Dow Chemical as a 2012 Olympic Games sponsor is due either to culpable ignorance or complete indifference to all but the interests of the Anglo-Saxon corporate-political nexus.
The Financial Times reports that Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Action and Information has said that allowing Dow to sponsor the London Olympics “legitimises” the company’s links to the 1984 Bhopal chemical disaster, which killed at least 8,000 people – though campaigners put the death toll from the accident as high as 25,000.
Activists are circulating a petition among athletes in India proposing to boycott the 2012 Olympics if Dow retains its sponsorship – a move which is said to have drawn support from former world hockey champion, Aslam Sher Khan.
In 1999 Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide – the company that was running the plant in India when a gas leak quickly became one of the world’s worst industrial accidents.
Dow Chemical said: “Although Dow never owned nor operated the plant and the legal claims surrounding the incident were resolved in 1989, long before Dow acquired Union Carbide, we – along with the rest of industry – have learned from this tragic event, and have helped to drive global industry performance improvements to ensure that such incidents never happen again. While the past must never be forgotten, our position as a Worldwide Olympic Partner represents our vision for the future.”
However, Vinuta Gopal, a campaigner for Greenpeace India, rightly said that, as Dow Chemical has not addressed its moral responsibilities in Bhopal, this company should not be associated with the Olympics.