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Archive for August 2007

Dow Stop Running, Start Cleaning up

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Would the world give the benefit rather than the doubt to Al Qaeda if they decide to c
over their violent past by organizing peace camps across the world, while continuing business as usual? I am sure the answer is a
resounding “NO
.” Then, why is a global corporation like Dow Chemical Company able to conveniently cleanse its horrible polluting image by supporting a run for clean water?

Blue Planet Run is an effort by Blue Planet Foundation to bring to fore the need for clean water for communities across the world.  The run is sponsored by Dow Chemical Company. Clean Water for all is an absolutely worthy cause and I should congratulate the runners for stretching their glutes and hamstrings and running across the world for such a notable purpose. But Dow‘s involvement with the cause really sours the  message. The Company has a proven record of
polluting waterways [1] and making water “undrinkable”
by the local communities [2]

One of Dow‘s biggest liabilities is in Bhopal, India where Union Carbide (a company which Dow bought – assets and
liabilities) factory leaked a poisonous gas 22 years ago and has consumed nearly 2
2,000 lives and has perpetrated a deadly toxic legacy.  Dow Chemical Company has shelled out $10 million to sponsor the Blue Planet run instead of spending the money cleaning up its human rights violations in Bhopal. It is shameful that the company wants to play no part in cleaning up Bhopal , but is going around the world and bragging about its commitment for clean water.

The question arises why the company doesn’t want pay its dues, get potty trained before a publicity campaign about its new image (ironically the Dow‘s image promotion campaign is called  the Human Element). The survivors of the gas tragedy have asked the same question for the last 22 years and recently a senior Government official with the Ministry of Chemicals has remarked that Dow doesn’t want to clean up Bhopal because if it cleans up Bhopal, it has clean up every other site that it has contaminated. [3]. Such is the attitude of the company that is sponsoring this run for clean water.

Dow doesn’t want to clean up Bhopal, divulge the chemical composition of the gas that is devastating the lives of survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy but wants to expand its business in India. [4]. Dow has faced severe
opposition from the Bhopal gas tragedy survivors in these expansion attempts[5]  and ha
s tried all underhand dealings to set up its businesses in India. [6] Dow has a corporate culture that views human beings as mere consumers and pays scant respect for a human life – Ms Kathy Hunt, Dow-Carbide’s public affairs officer, was quoted as saying,
“You can’t really do more than that, can you? $500 is plenty good for an Indian.” [7] It can only be hoped that the Indian Government
, which is so interested in getting into bed with Dow, doesn’t share similar sentiments about the value of an Indian life.

Dow has been condemned for its actions in Bhopal by all-comers including  21 members of the US Congress in 2006. [9] In spite of all these acts of injustice, the Indian Government has pawned its self-esteem and is willing to
handshake deals with Dow.[8] Such is the power and lure of
the greenbacks handed out by  Dow,  it not only makes
people forget its atrocious behavior
, but also absolves the company of its greatest sins.

Dow needs to be stopped at all costs in its green washing expansion drive and people around the world[10] need to
know that Dow‘s support for clean drinking water is a cheap corporate publicity gimmick, and nothing more than that. If Dow is really interested in providing clean water, it should first start with cleaning up all the places that it has polluted and ensure a life of dignity for those affected communities. Till then, the human face of Dow is just a mask and a toxic one at that.


1.EPA: Dow Chemical must clean up Tittabawassee hot spots immediately –!OpenDocument










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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

August 20, 2007 at 7:04 pm

Posted in Smoking Crack