[Here’s an older story that is relevant today with all the oil pipeline spills, the Standing Rock Sioux nation’s grievance and protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and the lead poisoning of large portions of Michigan’s water supply.]
Heartbreaking story on NY Times article on the continuing problems with the Union Carbide accident in Bhopal, India and how Dow Chemical is still doing its best to do nothing about the after-effects and weaseling out of helping with remediation of the site/community. Groundwater and soil are rarely tested and continued birth defects plague the area. Toxic waste is still being stored in sheds and a toxic sludge “pond” is used daily by children and dogs.
Dow can’t risk impacting its stockholders’ dividends with negative publicity and impact with probable cash outlay: Dow, based in Michigan, says it bears no responsibility to clean up a mess it did not make.
“As there was never any ownership, there is no responsibility and no liability — for the Bhopal tragedy or its aftermath,”
Scot Wheeler, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail message.
The Dow weasel is talking about how Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide and all its holdings, so Dow is, of course, not responsible for anything that Union Carbide perpetrated on the Bhopal community.
The article states that a jumpstart sum of $25M from Dow could solve many of the problems and help testing in the area. India’s government is afraid to push for the money because, in doing so, future investments by Dow might be put in jeopardy. (Why would you want to have Dow take part in anything in the country knowing their track record of environmental destruction and denial of wrongdoing?!?)
Dow Chemical has quite the awful past. They supplied the defoliant, napalm, that was used during the Vietnam conflict as well as manufactured Agent Orange that caused so much devastation and birth defects in Viet Nam. Dow is no stranger to environmental disasters. Wikipedia has noted the Environmental Record of Dow including
Being #11 in the “measure of toxicity of airborne pollutants emitted in the United States”
Dow has some responsibility for 96 of the United States’ worst Superfund toxic waste dumps, in tenth place by number of sites
Areas along Michigan’s Tittabawassee River, which runs within yards of Dow’s main plant in Midland, were found to contain elevated levels of the cancer-causing chemical dioxin in November 2006. The dioxin was located in sediments two to ten feet below the surface of the river.
The corporate marketing and legal staff at Dow are really working their spin on what a good corporate/world citizen the company is with their Corporate Ethics overview. Is this the type of ethical behavior we’ve come to expect from our leading corporate citizens? If that doesn’t make you feel nauseous and fear for your humanity, then look at Dow’s information about its commitment to clean drinking water. They talk about sustainability and clean water technologies they are helping to implement all over the world. Hey Dow! How about helping the folks in Bhopal with the problems your corporate ancestors created?
How do the corporate spin doctors and legal weasels at Dow sleep at night? How do they assuage their guilty consciences about the lies and deceptions they take an active role in promoting? Do large paychecks and great stock options help to ease their guilt? I’m feeling sickened…