Dow Chemicals blocks discussion of Bhopal disaster at its AGM today
Former UCC Plant at Bhopal, India
© Amnesty International
‘Dow’s Bhopal problems aren’t about to go away simply by ignoring them’ - Audrey Gaughran
The Dow Chemical Company is blinding investors to the toxic legacy of Bhopal, said Amnesty International, as the corporation holds its AGM in the US state of Michigan today having blocked a shareholder resolution asking for a report on the financial, reputational and operational impact of the catastrophe on Dow’s business.
Consequently, there will be no discussion at the AGM of the impending criminal and civil court proceedings relating to the 1984 gas leak in the city of Bhopal in central India - a calamitous event which resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, as well as ongoing damage to the health and environment of local communities in the area.
Over 100,000 people in the Bhopal area still suffer from health problems due to exposure to the gas and there remain high levels of contaminants in soil at the former factory site and the local groundwater due to the plant’s prior operations.
Dow has been ordered to appear before Bhopal’s Criminal Court on 4 July to explain why its wholly-owned subsidiary - Union Carbide Corporation - has repeatedly ignored calls to answer charges of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder”. The charges relate to Union Carbide’s responsibility for the leak. In addition to the criminal case, the companies are embroiled in two civil suits in India relating to the gas leak and ongoing environmental contamination at the former plant site.
Amnesty International Director of Global Issues Audrey Gaughran said:
“Dow’s refusal to talk about the Bhopal disaster ignores the continued suffering of the local community, and is an irresponsible business move.
“Dow’s Bhopal problems aren’t about to go away simply by ignoring them.
“Dodging the issue now has serious implications, not only for the hundreds of thousands who continue to suffer as a result of gas poisoning and pollution, but also the company and its shareholders further down the line.
“As long as the company continues to deny its responsibilities, its business will remain tainted by the Bhopal disaster. The only way to make problems like these go away is to remedy them.”
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