Designed to provide an eye-catching curtain around the steel girders and concrete buttresses of the Olympic stadium in London, the “wrap”, as it has become known, is to be financed by US-based multinational company Dow Chemical. In return, the London Olympics Organising Committee has agreed that Dow Chemical can make exclusive use of the surfaces for advertising purposes until the eve of the Games next summer.
This is the company which took over Union Carbide, responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. It was one of the world’s worst industrial catastrophes. Some 3000 people were killed in the immediate aftermath and many more have died in the years since. The 27th anniversary of the disaster has just passed but children are still being born with congenital defects due to chemicals that leached into the ground water.
Dow Chemical refuses to accept any responsibility for ongoing humanitarian and environmental issues arising from the tragedy. So the company will pour its money into Olympics sponsorship while the suffering continues unabated in Bhopal. Understandably, the victims and their families are outraged. They are demanding that India pull out of the Games. For our part, we should demand that Lord Coe and the London Olympics Committee ring down the curtain on this tainted sponsorship deal.