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 Sad Anniversary


Once upon a time, a big company from a very rich country built a factory in a very poor country. Of course, the poor country was glad to host that factory, because they were so poor every new job was welcome. And obviously the big company was glad too because workers are very cheap, in poor countries. After some time, though, the engineers noticed a security threat in the factory: some equipment might fail and that failure could lead to a disaster with a tremendous cost in lifes. The big company had an identical factory in their rich country, and they promptly fixed the equipment in that factory. But to save some money they didn't fix it in the poor country.

And as you've probably guessed, the failure happened in the factory of the poor country and a cloud of toxic gaz was released. It killed 20.000 people and left 120.000 others chronically ill for the rest of their life, with burnt lungs and eyes. What should the big company have done, then? Clean up the pollution? Give compensations to the victims? Right?

Imagine if instead of doing that, they just abandoned the factory (and tons of toxic waste), and flew back to hide in their rich country. What would you call such people? (You don't want to hear what I call them!) But then, what should the government of the rich country do? Help the poor country? Arrest the persons responsible for the disaster, make sure they pay compensations and clean up the site?

Imagine if they didn't. Imagine if they protected the big company and told the poor country they would face political and commercial reprisals if they didn't give up. What would you call such a country?!

Well, unfortunately, all that happened 20 years ago in India and the factory was Union Carbide's, an American chemicals company. And today, 20 years later, victims are still waiting for decent compensations, and the polluted site of the abandoned factory keeps poisoning the groundwater of local residents.

Do you think this is fair? Do you think it's worthy of a country that calls itself civilized? If not, read more about it on Greenpeace's site. You can do something about it!

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