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Corporate Criminal Exposed By NZer At Earth Summit

Corporate Criminal Exposed By NZ Activist At Earth Summit

Johannesburg, 30 August, 2002: Greenpeace activists including New Zealander Chris Hay, today spotlighted one of the world’s most notorious corporate criminals – Dow Chemical – by signposting and fencing off an open toxic waste discharge pipe at a Dow facility in South Africa.

The protest at the plant in Chloorkop, Midrand, 15 kilometres north of Johannesburg, involved 40 activists from 15 countries and was carried out by Greenpeace and other groups. The front gates were also blocked with a banner reading “Dow: Do Not Repeat Bhopal. Clean Up Africa Now!” Dow Agrosciences is also responsible for toxic contamination in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

“Dow leaves a trail of toxic legacies wherever it operates, and then refuses to accept liability. Dow is a corporate criminal in South Africa and in New Zealand. It buried toxic waste and incinerated dioxin in an urban area of New Plymouth. Dow must be held accountable,” said Chris Hay, Greenpeace New Zealand activist.

The international spotlight was put on Dow Agrosciences’ New Zealand plant by the Greenpeace report Corporate Crimes, released at the Earth Summit earlier this week.

Greenpeace investigations show that the facility in South Africa, owned by the American company Dow Agro-Sciences, pumps out toxic and cancer causing chemicals. The facility produces Dursban, a pesticide and deadly neurotoxin banned by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Dow’s extensive abuse of the environment in South Africa is consistent with Dow’s illegal and immoral behaviour worldwide ranging from production of poisons to systematic exploitation of weaker environmental protection regimes in developing countries,” said campaigner Sue Connor. “Governments at the Earth Summit must commit to an international agreement on corporate accountability and liability to stem corporate environmental abuses,” concluded Connor. Greenpeace demands Dow Chemical: assume criminal, medical and environmental liabilities, stop manufacturing and releasing toxic chemicals and release information on production and releases.

Dow’s criminal record includes the Bhopal disaster in 1984, the world’s worst chemical disaster that has killed over 20,000 people and rendered another 150,000 suffering chronic illness. Dow refuses to assume responsibility for liabilities it inherited after its 2001 merger with Union Carbide.

Contacts in Johannesburg (10 hours behind New Zealand
Chris Hay, New Zealand activist: +27 (0) 836 963 277
Photos and Video: Steve Morgan +27(0) 828 583 449,
David Woolford, +27(0) 828 583 110
Contacts in New Zealand:
Sue Connor, Campaigner: 021 272 4044, Vanessa Atkinson,
Media officer: 025 927 301

Vanessa Atkinson
Communications Assistant
Greenpeace New Zealand
Mobile: +64 (0)25 927 301
Ph: +64 (0)9 6306 317 Ext: 325
Fax: +64 (0)9 630 7121

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