08 October 2012
Bhopal survivors, MSPs and environmental campaigners are angry that the Games’ organising committee has refused to rule out any association with the Dow Chemical Company. The company’s high-prolife sponsorship of the London Olympics this summer generated fierce controversy.
The Commonwealth Games are seeking £100 million of commercial revenue from sponsorship, broadcast rights, ticketing and merchandise. They have already signed deals with some sponsors, including the power company, Scottish and Southern Energy and the computer manufacturers, Dell, but are looking for more
The Bhopal disaster began shortly after midnight on 3 December 1984 when the highly toxic gas, methyl isocyanate, leaked from a tank at a pesticide plant and killed thousands of people. The regional government put the immediate death toll at 3,787.
Local people say the real number was more like 8,000. In the years since, they say, another 25,000 have died from chronic diseases caused by the contamination, though this is disputed.
At the time of the accident, the plant was owned by the US company, Union Carbide. In 2001, Union Carbide was bought by Dow, and since then the company has become the target of Bhopal campaigners - though it protests its innocence.