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London 2012 Commissioner quits over Dow's Olympic sponsorship


January 26, 2012 - London

A London 2012 Commissioner revealed Wednesday that she has quit in protest over Dow Chemical being allowed to sponsor the Olympic stadium wrap.

Meredith Alexander feels she can no longer serve on London Mayor Boris Johnson's Commission for Sustainable London 2012 (CSL), as it would be hypocritical.

"The London 2012 Games organisers, Locog, they are basically legitimising Dow's position that they have no responsibility for Bhopal, and that statement has been made in the press several times and the reason I am resigning is because people have heard the company side of the story and it is essential that people get the chance to hear the victim side as well," she said.

Alexander is now calling for Dow Chemical to be dropped as Olympic sponsors because the site of the 1994 chemical disaster is still contaminated.

The seven million pound fabric wrap around the Olympic stadium in east London will not feature the branding of Dow Chemical under IOC rules. But the company has agreed it would drop its right to have its logo on test panels before the Games begin.

"The wrap - it is optional. The idea of the wrap is to make the stadium look nicer. It is not required to keep the stadium standing, it is not needed to make the athletes any better at their games, it is not going to help the spectators watch what is happening with a better vision, or a better chance of seeing what is going on. The wrap is completely optional, so I think that Locog really do have the choice here about whether or not they cancel the contract," she said.

The U.S. multinational's involvement in the London Games, billed as being the greenest Games ever, has sparked controversy for months.

In India effigies have been burnt of Seb Coe and some are even calling on Indian athletes to boycott the Games.

The deadly gas leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant, later taken over by Dow, killed at least 3,500 people. Residents still suffer ill health due to contaminated water near the site.

Dow merged with Union Carbide in 1999 and has said the 470 million dollar settlement for those affected by the leak is fair.

Late last year, Coe defended Dow saying that the company was not responsible for what happened at the plant during the 1984 disaster and that compensation had been paid.

The Commission for Sustainable London 2012 was established to keep an eye on green promises that were made during London's bid to host the Games. Locog has described the London Games as the greenest ever.

Alexander says with Bhopal tragedy still not resolved, Locog can not make that pledge whilst partnered with Dow.

"Ultimately Dow has responsibility for the worst human rights abuse by a corporation in my generation and I just couldn't sit by and do nothing," she said.

ANI

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