- The 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster – the world’s worst industrial disaster – has valuable lessons for the world. The disaster happened on the intervening night of 2-3rd December 1984 when tonnes of toxic gases leaked out of a factory owned by an American multinational Union Carbide Corporation. In the first few days the gas leak killed more than 3,000 people and left another 120,000 chronically ill,; the number of victims has now substantially increased.
- The disaster itself is far from over. The compensation amount of $470 million, with $450 million levied from Union Carbide Corporation, was wholly inadequate. Shared by 600,000 victims, the compensation amounted roughly to $500 per victim for lifelong illness. Costs of environmental remediation, medical monitoring and rehabilitation, economic rehabilitation of the victims were not and have not been considered. While Dow Chemicals, current owner of Union Carbide refuses to accept any liability, the disaster continues in form of second generation effects, groundwater contamination, shoddy relief and rehabilitation measures, and an ever elusive justice.
- We recognize that companies like Dow Chemicals have demonstrated disregard for all principles of environmentally sustainable practices, and equity and justice in several developing countries. Therefore, ensuring justice in Bhopal will resonate and strengthen the environmental justice and corporate accountability movements across the world.
- We declare our support to the Bhopal survivors-led movement for justice and corporate accountability and state our commitment to do all within our powers to ensure that a Bhopal like situation never happens again anywhere in the world. We strongly condemn any association with Dow Chemicals in wake of its Bhopal related liabilities. We urge International and National Olympics Committees to demonstrate their real commitment to environmental sustainability and peace by dissociating themselves from Dow. We strongly urge the Indian and US governments to act in the interest of victims by working together in upholding the rights of the victims, resolving all matters related to Bhopal liabilities and setting up a strong precedent for the internationally recognized “Polluter Pays” principle.
- We want developmental policies to be drafted keeping in mind the rights of disaster victims, rather than the interests of the corporate perpetrators of such disasters.
- In this context, Greens parties will work to:
3.1 Ensure justice for Bhopal and do all within our powers to make the polluter pay by holding Union Carbide and its current owner, Dow Chemicals, accountable for Bhopal related liabilities so that a strong precedent can be set for the future.
3.2 Oppose any association with Dow Chemicals until it agrees to correct the historical wrongs committed on the people of Bhopal by agreeing to pay: for cleaning up the site and local water supplies, for medical care for those still suffering as a result of the disaster, and for their continued disregard for both due legal process and the rights of Bhopal’s victims.