Martin Sheen is uniting with Amnesty International to hold Union Carbide accountable for a gas leak that killed over 10,000 people in Bhopal, India in 1984.
The Hollywood actor, who portrays the company’s former CEO Warren Anderson in Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain, is campaigning to help the survivors of the disaster.
Sheen said: “Those who survived have faced long-term health problems, but receive little medical help. For 30 years the survivors of Bhopal have campaigned for justice, for fair compensation, health care and for Union Carbide, now owned by Dow Chemicals, to be held to account.”
He added: “This was not an unavoidable accident. There is evidence that the companies responsible for the factory site failed to take adequate precautions both before and after the leak.”
The US chemical company’s plant leaked 40 tonnes of poisonous gas into the surrounding city in what is considered the world’s worst industrial disaster.
More than 555,000 people who survived are thought to have suffered after-effects, and many have died from gas-related illnesses, such as lung cancer, kidney failure and liver disease.
Anderson, who died at the age of 92 on 29 September, visited Bhopal four days after the accident and was immediately arrested. However, he paid bail and left the country before he could be put on trial. Numerous attempts by the Indian government to extradite him failed.
In 1989 Union Carbide paid $460million to the Indian government in damages.
Dow Chemicals has reportedly sought to distance itself from the disaster, pointing out that it never owned or operated the plant responsible for the disaster, and that it acquired the shares of Union Carbide 16 years after the tragedy.
Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain also stars Mischa Barton and Kal Penn. It has been released in the US today and will appear on the silver screen in India on 5 December.Reuse content