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Paralympic Row Erupts Over Dow Chemical Sponsorship

Press Release from Drop Dow Now

Monday the 21st May is 100 days to the Paralympic Games, a date marked with controversy due to Dow Chemical’s Paralympic sponsorship.

Campaigners have called for Dow’s sponsorship of the London Paralympic Games to be dropped due to Dow’s ownership of Union Carbide, the company responsible for the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984. The disaster killed over 20,000 and caused injury and illness to thousands more [1]. Hundreds of children continue to be born every year with birth defects [2].


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BP or not BP? The debut performance of the Reclaim Shakespeare Company


On April 23rd 2012 - Shakespeare's birthday and the launch of the World Shakespeare Festival - a group of merry players known as the "Reclaim Shakespeare Company" took unexpectedly to the stage in Stratford-upon-Avon, just before a Royal Shakespeare Company performance of The Tempest. This piece of guerilla Shakespeare aimed to challenge the RSC over its decision to accept sponsorship from BP in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster and the oil company's decision to start extracting highly polluting and destructive tar sands in Canada.


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Vote for the Greenwash Gold 2012!

Which dodgy company most deserves the Greenwash Gold medal in 2012? Who is covering up the most environmental destruction and devastating the most communities while pretending to be a good corporate citizen by sponsoring the Olympic games?


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London 2012 Olympic’s shameful corporate sponsors

by Steve Rushton
American League Against War and Fascism poster: Poster calling for boycott of Hitler's 1936 GamesAmerican League Against War and Fascism poster: Poster calling for boycott of Hitler's 1936 GamesSponsors of the 2012 London Olympics profit from peoples’ deaths and destroying the planet, whilst creating a vastly unequal economic system; this smears the Olympic ethos of people coming together to celebrate sporting excellence. Desecrating the games integrity will be advertisements from companies that profit directly from and cause peoples’ death, not least BP, Dow and Rio Tinto. Nevertheless, David Cameron has come out in support of DOW’s sponsorship.[i] More broadly, it has been argued that elites within the system are attempting to suppress peoples’ rights to express their discontent against injustices in Britain and abroad.


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Letter To Denis Hone CEO of ODA from Mike Wells, re Leyton Marshes

5th April 2012

Re: The Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) recent works on Leyton Marshes, close to London’s Olympic enclosure.

Dear Mr Hone, CEO of the ODA

I am writing to you in response to your recent letter addressed to “Dear Resident” in which you attempt to persuade local people that the ODA’s plan to construct a building on Leyton Marshes (classified as Metropolitan Open Space) is justifiable.


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Leyton Marsh: It's a joke to a judge

"I have tickets to one of the Basketball matches!" joked the judge hearing the application for an injunction by the ODA and LVRPA at the High Court against those protesting the construction of a Basketball Facility.


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Statement by Save Leyton Marsh Campaign in response to ODA's injunction

Statement by the Save Leyton Marsh group published on Indymedia. This is accompanied on Indymedia by a statement of support for the campaign from two Leabridge Ward Hackney Councillors, Ian Rathbone and Deniz Oguzkanli, detailing the failures of the ODA to communicate with them and the people living around Leyton Marsh. The behaviour of the ODA is reminiscent of its treatment of the residents of Leabank Square.

The ODA claim they have "no option" but to take legal action against this peaceful protest in order to fulfil their obligations "to provide practice facilities for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes". This is fundamentally untrue. Eleven questions were put to them in December by a number of local councillors and still remain unanswered, including why the ODA chose not to utilize one of several alternative sites that would not require destroying this much loved green space.

Kelmscott Leisure Centre is less than 10 minutes from Leyton Marsh with recently refurbished basketball courts suitable for disabled athletes, it will be shut for the duration of the Games. Walthamstow dog track is a disused brownfield site within 30 minutes of the Olympic park - specified as a requirement for the training facility. These both appear to be reasonable alternatives, but whether these sites were even considered has not been forthcoming despite requests for the selection process to be made available to the public.

Since planning permission was granted for these two huge 11m high 3 storey structure on Metropolitan Open Land, the ODA have refused to engage with local people and their very serious concerns relating not just to loss of green space but alarming health and safety irregularities arising from the construction. From the very beginning, local campaigners pointed out to the authorities concerned that Leyton Marsh was used for landfill and was known to contain unexploded bombs from WWII. Unsurprisingly work had to be halted during the first week of excavations when a bomb was discovered, workers were evacuated but not the surrounding area.

The ODA's own injunction mentions the discovery of asbestos on site, which is highly hazardous to health. Three of the five samples taken from the site survey prior to work commencing had such high concentrations of lead that they constituted 'hazardous waste', it is therefore extremely troubling that the planning application sought to avoid an Environmental Impact Assessment by claiming that only 15 cm of topsoil would be removed. Ian Ansell from Waltham Forest planning department has confirmed that the ODA have already excavated to at least 50cm in breach of their planning permission. Mounds of exposed soil several metres high containing significant concentrations of rubble are piled all around the site.

Whilst Lea Valley Park Authority claim that they are concerned with unlawful use of their land and are "keen to safeguard Leyton Marsh", they saw fit to let the majority of Leyton Marsh for a huge construction project requiring significant concrete foundations, in the process destroying a habitat that has taken years to establish itself and in no way can be restored to its previous condition in October as claimed.

Why have the ODA and WFC failed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment when excavating several feet deep into the marsh? Why have the ODA and WFC not published the restoration plan that was part of planning conditions? Why are the ODA and WFC committed to destroying protected public land when viable alternatives which provide legacy and regeneration benefits exist? These are the questions to which local residents and councillors want satisfactory answers.


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