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 petetion after so long?!?!

Are they serious??? Maybe it has been sent as no effort has been made from 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!

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Have you Reddit?

http://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/gndnt/til_that_in_1984_a_union_carbide_plant_in_bhopal/

Some interesting debates going on here, well worth a read and a contribution!

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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 www.bhopal.org or call (0)1273 603278.

                                               Thank You

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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.

http://www.indiablooms.com/EnvironmentDetailsPage/environmentDetails220311d.php

http://in.news.yahoo.com/bhopal-tragedy-survivors-demand-probe-nuke-plant-projects-20110322-051832-743.html

http://twocircles.net/2011mar23/bhopal_gas_victims_urge_relook_nuclear_plants_country.html

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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.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-03-23/india/29177952_1_bhopal-gas-tragedy-worst-industrial-disaster-ucc-plant

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/court-allows-cbi-to-extradite-warren-anderson/146867-3.html

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/bhopal-tragedy-cbi-moves-court-for-warren-andersons-extradition/765862/

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World Water Day in Bhopal

In honour of World Water Day (Tuesday 22nd March), we’ve decided to look at how we use water in day to day life; and when you get down to thinking about it, water is pretty damn important in pretty much everything we do! But even the smallest thing that we use water for could be potentially dangerous for the people of Bhopal. This is simply because the contamination in their water supply is getting worse and worse, thanks to the chemicals, just sat seeping into the ground under the abandoned factory site, waiting to be cleaned up after 27 years.

So here’s a list of some of the main uses for water, imagine trying to do any of these things with chemically poisoned water…

  1. Drink it – not safe in Bhopal
  2. Clean you teeth with it – not safe in Bhopal
  3. Wash yourself with it – not safe in Bhopal
  4. Wash your clothes in it – safe in Bhopal
  5. Swim in it – not safe in Bhopal
  6. Cook with it – safe in Bhopal, so long as the water’s boiled
  7. Water plants with it – safe in Bhopal, so long as you don’t eat what you’re growing
  8. Agriculture – not safe in Bhopal, the chemicals will get into the produce
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World Water Day

As I sip on my clean, filtered water, having had my morning shower and turned on the washing machine, I can’t help but ponder on the differences between my life and those who have to walk for 3- 10 hours to get water to drink and to bathe, as many are forced to do around the world.

827.6 million people live in slums with inadequate water supplies and sanitation.

493 million people share their sanitation facilities.

And we see the destructive nature water can have – whether standing dormant in pools, slowly infecting areas through contamination or by crashing through towns in the recent Japanese Tsunami.

In Bhopal the injustice continues, as the Second Disaster persists in causing disease, birth defects and deaths. The B’eaupal Water campaign in 2009, fronted by the famous Yes Men aimed to address the continuing problems caused by the toxic spill. It is still very relevent today, and this video is very funny! (Although obviously vey serious..!)

Water is the most vital and important human necessity. That people, company’s and corporations profit from the lack of this, is a shocking but undeniable fact. The poor are the ones who pay more for the lack of water- why does an average slum dweller in Nairobi pay 5-7 times more for a litre of water than a North American citizen? Why did I witness a man open a bottle of water, take 3 sips, and then throw it away in a bin, just the other day in town? Consumer capitalism, the drive for profit and the incessent advertisement of useless commodity and quick fix solutions has caused a society which lacks the capacity to distinguish what is valuable and what is waste. It is always the poor that will suffer from the problems that the rich create. In the western developed countries, the most waste and pollution is produced, but the consequences of this are felt most keenly by the poorest nations. This is shown from the waste mountains, sewage, lack of investment ( or investment without thought out plans or consideration to environmental and local implications) urban expansion without decent housing or sanitation infrastructure and systematic failure to address underlying causes of poverty.

There will be people who profit from the disaster in Japan, from the troubles in the Middle East and who already have from the contamination in Bhopal.

Bhopal has another name – ‘the city of Lakes’, so named for its natural abundance of lakes and fresh water- it also claims to be one of India’s ‘greenest cities’.The fact that much of the densely populated slum areas of Bhopal are toxic due to Carbide’s factory makes the injustice all the more infuriating. This was not a natural disaster, but one that could have been prevented and could have been turned around by corporate responsibilty and by government help.

Enough of my angry ramblings. Below are some World Water Day videos and links about building sustainable communities within New Delhi and its sanitation and water supply since 1990, which is both interesting and relevent to todays environmental discussions. Enjoy!

http://vimeo.com/20237817

http://www.steps-centre.org/events/watersym2011.html

FACTS ABOUT WATER AROUND THE WORLD!!

http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/swm_cities_zaragoza_2010/pdf/00_issue_briefs_media.pdf

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World Water Day- 22nd March- A question of Oil and Water

Next Tuesday is World Water Day, a day that aims to draw attention the facts surrounding the inadequate access to clean and safe drinking water for over 1 billion people in the world. The initiative started in 1992 after a United Nations Conference on Environment and Development – (UNCED) and this year it primarily focuses on urban water supply and the problems caused by over development and the environmental consequences of urban expansion.

The objective of World Water Day 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems.

In Cineworld Cinema’s, a bottle of 500ml water is sold for £2.55. I regularly found these bottles unopened or with a few sips taken and then discarded, to be thrown into landfill with the rest of the ‘waste’. Danone make $13 billion in profit a year. Volvic spent 240, 000 of their profits on wells in Africa, 440 of them. WELL done. This is simply too little, too late, a drop in the ocean. In India, the plastic (PET or polyethylene terephthalate ) bottles pile up in mountains. PepsiCo make billions by distributing their Aquafina brand water (filtered tap water), the cost of which impacts gravely on the environment in India and in other countires in the distrubution, in the oil used to produse the plastic and the disposal process. In Bhopal, in the slums surrounding the disused, empty factory, children drink water polluted with sewage and drawn from the earth that has washed 26 years of poison into it. The ground water has shown to contain 2000 times the safe limit of of carbon tetrachloride, a carcinogen and suspected toxicant, and various other chemicals which are detrimental to the health of those drinking this water. But despite being ordered to provide safe and clean drinking water for its citizens by the Indian Supreme Court in 2005, they still drink polluted water.

‘Though Dow has consistently refused to clean up the mess in Bhopal, they have taken numerous steps to clean up their image. In a recent press release, for example, Andrew Liveris, Dow’s Chairman and CEO, noted that “lack of clean water is the single largest cause of disease in the world and more than 4,500 children die each day because of it.” He went on to assert that “Dow is committed to creating safer, more sustainable water supplies for communities around the world.”

The situation in Bhopal is just one example of the contradictions in a world in which in our affluent society we have the choice of countless varieties of bottled drinking water, whilst the majority go without.

Learn more about World Water day here:

http://www.worldwaterday2011.org/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se12y9hSOM0

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Bhopal cancer tragedy

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/bhopal-gas-tragedy-cancer-rates-treble/146063-3.html

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Bhopal Survivor’s Protest March

http://www.washingtonbanglaradio.com/content/22078011-bhopal-survivors-protest-march

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