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article imageActivists compare leaks in India and West Virginia Special

By Justin King     Jan 24, 2014 in World
The chemical spill in West Virginia is beginning to receive international attention due to the similarities between that incident and an incident in Bhopal, India thirty years ago.
The incident that left over 300,000 people without water and over 300 seeking medical attention, was recently revealed to not be the result of one chemical leak, but at least two. West Virginia’s environmental protection agency has ordered Freedom Industries prepare a full listing of the chemicals that leaked into the river. The chemical initially identified made up only a small percentage of the material leaked into the state's drinking water.
West Virginia’s secretary of state, Natalie E. Tennant, said
It is very disturbing that we are just now finding out about this new chemical, almost two weeks after the leak,
On the federal level, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was already trying to stop the implementation of more regulations on January 14 when he said
We have enough regulations on the books,
At this point in time, the exact cause of the spill or spills is still unknown. John Boehner listed Freedom Industries as a campaign contributor last year.
Another group expressing their outrage is the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North America (ICJB-NA). The organization has issued a press release expressing solidarity with the victims of the Freedom Industries spill. ICJB-NA campaigns to bring awareness and relief to victims of a Union Carbide Company leak in India. That leak occurred thirty years ago and residents are still trying to cope with the contamination.
The press release draws similarities between the two incidents:
The Freedom Industries chemical spill and the Union Carbide Corporation’s (UCC) chemical leak in Bhopal, India share many similarities, namely: (1) Unsafe design; (2) Unsafe location; (3) Failure to report to official bodies; (4) Denial of the leak by the Corporation immediately after the incident; (5) Inadequate information available on the leaked chemical and on an appropriate response, and; (6) Government’s negligence in regulation.
The organization fights to increase regulation of industries that use chemicals that are toxic to the populations surrounding the locations they are used, and states their vision is
No more Bhopals!
In an interview with Digital Journal, Reena Shadaan of ICJB-NA said
What can communities in West Virginia do so as not to be forgotten or ignored like those in Bhopal? Mobilize like-minded groups, and make connections wherever possible --locally, nationally and internationally. The fight is stronger if we are together. The mainstream media might not pick the story up as they should, but reach out to alternative media. Whatever it takes to get your voice heard!
Weeks after the leak, water is still being brought into the affected area from as far away as New York by private citizens trying to help. It is still unclear when the water will be safe to drink as very little is known about the chemical that poured into the Elk River.
More about West Virginia, Bhopal, Leak, Water, Chemicals
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