Union Carbide's direct involvement in Bhopal disaster
Plaintiffs in a US lawsuit against Union Carbide, now owned by Dow Chemical, claim that new evidence has come to light proving the company's direct role in the gas disaster which happened in Bhopal, India in 1984, killing several thousand people and injuring many thousands more.
The new evidence demonstrates the chemical company’s direct role in designing and building the pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, that caused the world’s worst modern industrial disaster and continues to pollute residents’ water with toxins. The company refuses to clean up the site, claiming that its former Indian subsidiary bears sole responsibility. The victims have recently also sued the Indian State of Madhya Pradesh, which leased the land on which the Bhopal plant was built for the purpose of permitting cleanup of the contaminated site which has polluted the drinking water supply of nearby residential areas.
The new evidence, consisting of statements from former Union Carbide and Union Carbide India employees, as well as evaluations by experts in waste disposal systems, establishes that UC provided critical design for the plant and its waste management system and that it was this design which caused the ongoing toxic waste problem in Bhopal. Plaintiffs’ evidence also shows that it was a Union Carbide employee that oversaw and approved the construction and design, implementing Union Carbide’s plan for the Bhopal plant.
This evidence was submitted in court in January 2014 in Sahu II v. Union Carbide Corp., a federal class-action lawsuit filed by residents of Bhopal whose land and water remain contaminated by waste from the chemical plant. A previous lawsuit, Sahu I, was dismissed last year after the courts found insufficient evidence that Union Carbide was sufficiently involved in creating the toxic waste.
“This evidence demonstrates that Union Carbide was intimately involved in every aspect of designing and building the Bhopal plant, including the waste disposal systems that caused the pollution,” said Rick Herz, counsel for the plaintiffs and Litigation Coordinator for EarthRights International. Co-counsel Rajan Sharma, of the New York law firm Sharma & Deyoung, added, “These families have been living with Union Carbide pollution for decades and they deserve justice. Union Carbide refuses to submit to the jurisdiction of India’s courts and asserts that American courts may not grant relief without the participation of the Indian government.”
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