The controversial fabric wrap around London's showpiece Olympic Stadium will stay despite the resignation of an ethics watchdog over the link between the Bhopal disaster and Dow Chemical Company, which is backing the hi-tech design, London 2012 said today.
An enraged Meredith Alexander stepped down as a commissioner on the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL), whose job is to assure sustainability across the Olympic and Paralympic programme, stating that she no longer wanted "to be party to a defence of Dow Chemicals".
Up to 15,000 people died and tens of thousands were maimed when poisonous gas leaked from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, central India, in 1984. It is one of the world's worst industrial disasters.
Dow bought Union Carbide in 2001 and denies responsibility for Carbide's Bhopal liabilities.
Ms Alexander said: "It is appalling that 27 years on, the site has still not been cleaned up and thousands upon thousands of people are still suffering.
"I believe people should be free to enjoy London 2012 without this toxic legacy on their conscience."
Human rights groups including Amnesty International plus Keith Vaz, the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and former London mayor Ken Livingstone have described her resignation as a "brave and principled" stand. They also questioned London 2012's stance in taking sponsorship from Dow.
London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton said: "It is absolutely her right to make her point about how she feels about the victims of Bhopal. We fully respect her. She is one of 12 people who signed off on our process for choosing Dow to provide the wrap - so we carry on.
"It is absolutely her right to resign. She is one of 12 members of that sustainability commission who signed off on the way we approached awarding the wrap to Dow. I think that it is great that we have got this independent function to oversee so all this is washed through transparently. I think that is fine but we are moving on."
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