Bhopal a Man Made Disaster
What role should charity play as a result of a man made disaster? Strategically the polluter should pay then locally provided emergency help and ongoing victim support would be the norm. In some significant instance there are more needs for longer periods than first realised. Pushing the boundaries of science or more likely exploiting them for commercial gain created significant issues at the Union Carbide pesticide factory in the Indian city of Bhopal. The ongoing failure to face all the corporate responsibilities leaves much for charities to do.
Bhopal Gas Tragedy
- Bhopal chemical explosion at Union Carbide pesticide factory happened as long ago as 1984. Bhopal Medical Appeal is a UK registered charity 1117526 that annually raises public donations of over half a million pounds. There are negligible reserves to fall back on.
- Most of the UK raised funds are spent in Bhopal on special clinics run by the Sambhavna Trust and the Chingari Trust.
- BMA spend 20% of their cash and resources campaigning for justice for survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster and question the lack of US political support.
- The ground around the factory is heavily contaminated and poisonous drinking water has been the causing birth defects, impacting on future births and creating medical problems not acknowledged by the company.
- Dow Jones who took over Union Carbide has been accused in India of manslaughter but despite legal notices fought tooth and nail to avoid responsibility.
Issues And Concerns
A recent full page advert in the Daily Telegraph brought the issues back in to my conscious. Keeping disasters in the public mind should keep health & safety on the agenda and help inform for future disasters.
The role of charities may be crucial but they are only bit players amongst lawyers, politicians, shareholders and corporate managers.
Dow subsidiary, the Union carbide Corporation, remains wanted in India on the criminal charge of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’, for its part in the Bhopal Disaster, but Union Carbide has never bothered to answer the charge, nor attend court, and is a ‘proclaimed absconder’ in the eyes of the Indian judicial system.
Securities and Exchange Commission filings for the new Dow reveal that it expects to assume Union carbide’s liabilities……….. This is the first occasion on which notice will have been served since the merger with DuPont and the subsequent split into three ‘new’ companies and, as such, marks an extremely important legal milestone. Dow is required to attend court in Bhopal on November 13 2019. from Bhopal Medical Appeal