Bhopal gas tragedy memorial a planned cover-up, cite survivors

BHOPAL: The survivors of the Union Carbide disaster have termed the state government's move to build a memorial on the highly contaminated factory site, a 'planned cover-up' of the crimes of Dow Chemical against the environment and people.

Questioning the proposed memorial, Nawab Khan, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha said that the state governmentís grandstanding on the removal of 337 MT of hazardous waste from the factory for building the memorial has to be taken with more than a pinch of salt. "It's a tiny fraction, less than 0.2 per cent, of the hazardous waste that is currently causing the second environmental disaster in Bhopal. It is being used as a smokescreen to hide the ugly reality of our poisoned city," said the activist.

Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action said that official agencies have reported high concentrations of six Persistent Organic Pollutants in the ground water, chemicals that retain their toxicity for over a hundred years. "Greenpeace reported the presence of mercury in soil in quantities several million times more compared to safe levels. The chemicals and heavy metals found by different agencies are known to damage the brain, liver, lungs and kidneys and known to cause cancers and diseases of the endocrine, reproductive, immune and other systems."

Over a hundred thousand people have been exposed to these poisons for 7 to 20 years and it is finding new victims every day as it spreads, she further added.

Smoke and mirrors exercise

"Instead of seeking compensation from Dow Chemical for damages caused to the environment and people, the state government is using the memorial to cover up the disaster and the transfer of a small amount of waste is all smoke and mirrors exercise to let the criminal corporation walk away from its legal obligation." -Nosheen Khan of Children against Dow Carbide.

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