From Brighton to Bhopal

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We’ve got bottle…

After years of working at SUPERmarkets, (Sainsburys and Somerfield, NEVER AGAIN) handing out plastik bag after plastik bag to ungrateful shoppers, it feels good to be making a small difference in the world of plastik re-using. Our rapidly approaching Glastonbury Festival appearance will be one of bottled beauty and of creative calm (or mayhem, the atmosphere tends to change quite rapidly as the day wears on and the drinks flow more freely…only chai, of course). During the last few weeks our collection of plastik bottles has grown, our materials have flourished and our hands are more nimble, but we still need help in order to create the masterPEACE that the Bhopali’s deserve. It is easy to forget that Glastonbury Festival is a world festival, one that prides itself on championing small charities and helping those who are in need, all over the world. Making our little area in the Leftfield is really important to give a voice to those suffering, and to educate those who know nothing of the terrible history of Bhopal and the 1984 disaster. We hope that by having a fun, creative activity for families and for those who want a little break from the bustle and the booming music of the festival, people will want to have a chill out and find out a little more about what we do at the Bhopal Medical Appeal, and have a cup of chai with us. Creating something out of nothing also reflects the attitude of the survivors of Bhopal, they continue to fight and to struggle, and never forget how to see the bright side of things, despite their hardships and suffering. In fact, they know how to party more than most!

Filed under bhopa Bhopal Medical Appeal glastonbury

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Calling Brighton locals….

If anyone lives in Brighton and fancies getting creative, we are holding workshops twice a week from now until Glastonbury. These are to create recycled art for our area in the Leftfield to create a fantastic record breaking plastic bottle sculpture garden of people.

Workshops will be held on:

  • Tuesday 6-8 pm
  • Saturday 11am-1pm

They are at Beaconsfield Studios, 25 Ditchling Rise, Brighton BN1 4QL  so feel free to come along and and get creative :D

Filed under brighton craft making event recycling

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Will justice ever be served?

Today India’s Supreme Court has rejected a request to re-open the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster case in order to impose harsher sentences on the accused. Last June minimal jail sentences were given to seven former managers of the Union Carbide plant for negligence.

The case was made to increase the charge to culpable homicide, however, it has been dismissed as the judges believe there to be ‘no satisfactory explanation’ for filing the petition after so long?!?!

Are they serious??? Maybe it has been sent as no effort has been made by the officials to adequately compensate the victims after such a long period of time. Maybe it is because children three generations on are still being born suffering from the effects of gas exposure. Maybe it is because of the new disaster that chemicals are seeping into the ground contaminating all the water sources…. Just maybe it is because its only a matter of time before the situation gets even worse!

This ruling is just another barrier in the fight for justice! But it will not stop us!

Filed under bhopal Bhopal Medical Appeal water contamination gas disaster DOW union carbide

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A little closer to justice…court allows CBI to extradite Anderson

Hi I’m Charlotte, a volunteer here at the Bhopal Medical Appeal,. Here are some of my musings on the legal process in the Bhopal case, and my general anger at the lack of accountability from executives and corporations.

‘when you get to be 87 or 85 years old…you try to put bad things out of your mind’

- says Lilian Anderson, wife of Warren Anderson, wanted for culpable homicide since 1987…

Can the Bhopalis, 500,000 affected, can they put it out of their minds? Can the generations that came after the disaster forget so easily? They still suffer daily. Many lost their entire families, were orphaned, widowed, left without adequate health care or money to buy food and shelter. Many still suffer with debilitating conditions which hinder their everyday lives. They cant get a job. Or get re married. Or claim compensation from the state. So how easy is it to forget, Mrs Anderson, standing in the driveway of one of your 3 houses, your Cadillac glinting in the Long Island sunshine?

Excuse this rant, but it seems to me that some people are of the impression that its silly to try to extradite Warren Anderson for his central role in the deadly industrial disaster in Bhopal in 1984, simply because he’s getting on a bit. Well, sorry, that’s just not good enough.

The Bhopali’s have been let down consistently- by the judicial system, by the Indian and US governments, by Union Carbide and by Dow Chemical. What value is put on an Indian life? 470 Million dollars apparently, or enough compensation for a registered survivor to have a cup of chai a day. * UCC, Supreme Court of India and Indian Government accept paltry sum 14/2/1989, without consultation of survivors. This story could have been very different, perhaps if the winds were blowing towards the west…

Union Carbide Corporation are guilty from when they first set up the factory, and are still responsible, 26 years on from the disaster.

Warren Anderson is accused No.1. He has been on bail since 1984, and has repeatedly ignored summons to stand trial in an Indian Court, and was officially declared an ‘absconder from justice’ on February 1st, 1992. Now it seems that finally he may be extradited, and be forced to stand trial. Why has this process taken so long that people start to question why we are bothering at all?

Well, its a long story of systematic corruption, of backtracking, of disputed settlements, of negligence…but most importantly, I suggest, is is a story that reveals a total lack of will to do anything about it.

It is not in the Indian Governments interest to try to get justice for Bhopal. I do not think it is too cynical to suggest that their bigger concerns are over US investment in India and the money this generates for the economy..

a letter written to U.S. State Department review authority Archie M. Bolster (dated July, 24, 2003) by probably a U.S. industry representative (writer’s name not clear), it is explicitly stated that “the request [to extradite Mr. Anderson] should be rejected. No issue has greater potential to destroy U.S. business leaders’ confidence in India than the handling of the Warren Anderson case.” It also states that the extradition request was “sheer hypocrisy” and that its “chilling effect on American investment abroad cannot be overstated.”-

It is not in the US Governments interest either, to track down Anderson, and bring him to trial.

It is a tale that raises the question of corporate responsibility. Corporations, after all, are devised in such a way that evades personal responsibility- a corporation has no feelings and no moral sensibilities. 

Corporations were given the rights of immortal persons. But then special kinds of persons, persons who had no moral conscience. These are a special kind of persons, which are designed by law, to be concerned only for their stockholders. And not, say, what are sometimes called their stakeholders, like the community or the work force or whatever. - Noam Chomsky

Warren Anderson, CEO of the corporation that failed to implement core safety measures in a highly reactive environment and once the disaster had occurred failed to provide information about the make-up of the compound gases and failed to provide adequate compensation to victims and failed again to clean up the site that was still spilling its deadly toxins and said, at the time, that

'Union Carbide has a moral responsibility in this matter, and we are not ducking it.' - Anderson - Time Magazine, December 24, 1984

This on going tragedy, as children are still born with disabilities and illnesses, which is increasing as the contamination spreads deeper, and claims more lives daily, may have faded from Lilian and Warrens minds, but it will never fade from the minds of those effected and from the people who fight for justice.  

'When all this is over, I don’t think anyone will accuse Union Carbide of stonewalling or running away from the issue.'

Wishful thinking from Warren Anderson, Union Carbide’s former CEO. Quoted in The Washington Post, February 24, 1985

It is time for this hypocrisy to end. Anderson must face up to his and his companies crimes.

Filed under dow chemical noam chomsky union carbide warren anderson

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Fancy a Challenge?

Has the sun last week and longer evenings given you a bit more energy? Is it time to break free from the comfort of your house, get out and about, get fit and enjoy the spring?

Well now that spring is officially here its time to dust off those trainers and take on a challenge. Sign up to run to The British 10k London Run! This is a great chance to get fit, do something good for charity and have a lot of fun at the same time. The run itself is on 10th July 2011 and follows a course past London monuments such as Tower Bridge, Tate modern, London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. What a great way to see them!

We need all the help we can get so please help us help those in Bhopal.

For more information go to or call (0)1273 603278.

                                                        Thank You

Filed under bhopal Bhopal Medical Appeal run london 10k pollution water contamination

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Bhopal. Fukushima. When will we learn?

Following the catastrophic tragedy that struck Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and Tsunami on March 11 last, the leaders of five NGOs working for the survivors of the December 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster have asked the Government of India to learn lessons from it so that the countrymen are saved from another holocaust like in Bhopal 26 years ago.

Such incidents are not repeated in India following natural calamities or man-made errors, the NGOs have demanded immediate suspension of the work on the Jaitapur nuclear power plant and called for independent review of the proposed nuclear reactors in five other locations within India.

The five NGOs who appealed to the Government included: Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information & Action and Children Against Dow Carbide.

Meanwhile, the survivors of Bhopal gas disaster, observed two minutes silence to pay homage to those who perished in Japan in the Tsunami and earthquake. They called for the Central Government to pull up its socks and have a relook of all the nuclear plants to see that the safety measures are in place and are upgraded in the backdrop of the Fukushima debacle.

Addressing a joint Press conference here on Tuesday the NGOs expressed condolences for the nearly 15,000 victims who perished in the tragedy and appealed the world community for help to rehabilitate about half a million Japanese who have been displaced following the disaster. They expressed deep concerns over the ongoing nuclear disaster and apprehensions that such tragedy could strike India if the government did not heed the warning signals and have a complete relook of the safety measures of the existing nuclear power plants in the country.

Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action said the Fukushima disaster has highlighted the importance of public knowledge concerning all aspects of the nuclear industry. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, (AERB), being part of the Department of Atomic Energy of Government of India is not an independent body and the Indian people cannot rely on it for authentic information.

Any investigation carried out by AERB is not reliable as the world over a veil of secrecy exists over the working of nuclear plants, he remarked.

Sarangi pointed out the similarities of the locations of the Fukushima and the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant and demanded immediate suspension of work on the project. He said that Jaitapur is located around the coast line and as per the figures of Geological Survey of India it has witnessed 92 earthquakes from 1985 to 2009.

He called for independent review of the proposed nuclear power plants at five other locations in the country namely in Chutkha (Madhya Pradesh), Haripur (West Bengal), Mithi Virdi (Gujarat), Pitti Sonapur (Orissa) and Kowada (Andhra Pradesh).

Rashida Bi of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said that the city in which over 24,000 people have died and many are still dying, can feel the pain of relatives and friends of the thousands of Japanese people who have died due to the Tsunami and earthquake. She expressed hope that the people from all over the world will help over 4, 52,000 affected people to rebuild their lives. She said that by causing irreparable damage to the world environment large corporations are causing and heightening the impact of natural disasters

Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha expressed grave concerns on the ongoing exposure of workers and others to nuclear radiation and the contamination of food and water. On behalf of the survivors of Bhopal he demanded that the Japanese government release factual information on the levels of radiation in and around the nuclear plant in Fukushima.

Safreen Khan of Children Against Dow-Carbide called for independent scientific investigations into the operation and impact of the 19 reactors currently operating in various parts of India. She said that there has been no official study yet on the health effects including birth defects and cancer in the communities around these nuclear plants.

The activists said they would meet Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on the issue and also co-operate with the villagers who are opposing the Jaitapur nuclear plant.

It may be recalled here that 40 tonnes of poisonous methyl isocyanate gas spewed from the pesticide plant of the Union Carbide factory in the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. The gas leak killed 3,000 people instantly and more that 25,000 over the years. It also affected 100,000 people that night and estimates are that more than 500,000 continue to suffer till date.

Filed under bhopal Bhopal Medical Appeal pollution poisoning DOW union carbide fukushima chemicals nuclear

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Will he finally pay???

Delhi court on Wednesday allowed the CBI to seek extradition of Union Carbide Corporation chairman Warren Anderson, an accused in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy case, from the United States.

"Considering the entire facts in its holistic perspective and sentiments of the disaster-hit people, I deem it appropriate and in the interest of justice that he be extradited," Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav said.

Filing a 33-page application before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav, the agency said, “He is criminally liable to stand trial in India. It would be a travesty and miscarriage of justice if he is not brought before the court of law in India.”

"Warren M Anderson is liable to be prosecuted on extradition to India for offence under Section 304 IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder)," said the CBI referring to the extradition treaty of September 14, 1999 between the US and India.

"As per the provision contained in the extradition treaty dated September 14, 1999 between the USA and India, reciprocity has been granted for the extraditable offence punishable for a period of more than one year or by a more severe penalty.”

"Anderson had full knowledge about defective design of the Bhopal plant and danger of gas leakage. He was aware of better safety technology and standards available at UCC Plant in West Virginia, US, and yet he did not ensure the measures here" said the CBI.

Anderson, 90, never faced trial in connection with the world’s worst industrial disaster over 26 years ago and was declared a proclaimed offender by the court of Bhopal chief judicial magistrate in 1992 after he jumped bail, which he had secured on December 7, 1984 following his arrest.

The CBI emphasised that the management of the UCC was well aware about the defects in the plant at Bhopal but did not take any remedial action.

"As the management was well aware of the defects in the plant, the culpability of Anderson, being its chairman, cannot be denied," the CBI prosecutor said.

Filed under bhopal Bhopal Medical Appeal DOW union carbide contamination pollution poisoning health