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Contamination and Radioactivity

The Greenest Games Ever was one of the claims. A heavily contaminated brownfield "scar" to use the word of David Higgins, Chief Executive of the Olympic Development Authority (and which of course it wasn't by any means). The 2012 site would be fully remediated. A claim that has proven false?

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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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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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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Open Letter to Meredith Alexander former Commissioner on the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012

30th January 2012

Dear Ms Alexander

I wholeheartedly congratulate you on your decision to resign from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012. As far as I am aware you are only the second person involved with London 2012 who has had the integrity, courage and conviction to take such a morally justifiable action.


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Dow: London's 2012 Perfect Olympic Sponsor

By Mike Wells , posted 29th December 2011, edited 11th January 2012Campaigners Against DowCampaigners Against Dow

A recent sponsorship deal has seen the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games accept money from Dow Chemical. Dow will provide a fabric "wrap" which will be placed around London's Olympic stadium.

According to Britain's Guardian newspaper the wrap's purpose is to reduce wind inside the stadium.  But, as the metaphor says ...


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Dow 'mistake' could be a 'disaster'

Ted Jeory, one of the few journalists to pick up on the radioactive contamination of the London Olympic Park, has reported that London 2012 is seriously concerned at the head of steam building up in India over the deal which allowed Dow to sponsor the Olympic stadium. 'Senior sources', not just 'sources', are reported as saying the deal was a 'mistake' which it seems they are finding it difficult to wriggle out of.


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Bhopal Medical Appeal: Dow! It's water pollution not gas poisoning

The Bhopal Medical Appeal has issued a statement following the announcement by LOCOG that Dow Chemical are to provide the London Olympic Stadium ‘wrap’. It emphasises that its concern is not the 1984 gas disaster but the contamination of drinking water by chemicals from toxic waste dumps in and around the United Carbide site.


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machine and dust

In The Gold Machine Iain Sinclair blogs on his evening out on Nina Pope's Floating Cinema and (with pictures) the essential pre-history - his famous Kayak trip with Stephen Gill.


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Indian Olympians call for Dow 2012 Boycott

Former Indian Olympics hockey players have demanded that Locog withdraw from the deal with Dow Chemicals to provide the wrap around the main stadium. A number of players came from Bhopal and were witnesses to the event or had relatives who died in the mass poisoning. If Lowcog refuses they will call for a boycott of the London Games. Former hockey star Amer Sher Khan said: 'We will ask the government to boycott the games if the LOCOG carries out the deal despite being conveyed the message in this regard.'


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that's a wrap then

On twitter from @LONDON2012:

LOCOG has chosen US-based silicone textile producer Dow Corning to sponsor the 2012 Olympic Stadium wrap

Perhaps no surprise since Dow remain one of the IOC's TOP sponsors, who'll no doubt be wanting to remind us of their continuing obligations and responsibilities to the people of Bhopal.


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NTAG: Terror threat stops Olympics nuclear trains

Ahead of a planned demonstration in Stratford on Saturday by Nuclear Trains Action Group (NTAG) against nuclear trains passing through London, train operator Direct Rail Services has announced that it has suspended nuclear trains from Sizewell during the Olympics. DRS says: “As responsible operators, we always work closely with our regulators and suppliers in all our areas of operation and making these temporary changes to our spent nuclear fuel movements will ensure that we do not impede on passenger train operators’ ability to deliver an efficient service.”


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a message from their sponsors

No telly so haven't seen it, but on Twitter @jennifermjones was rather caustic about Tier 1 sponsor BP's new Olympics greenwashing ad:

Oh my god. Just saw the London2012/BP advert. It is a f***ing oil company talking about blatantly greening a mega event.

As @PlatformLondon point out, BP do culture-washing too. The newly launched UK edition of HuffPo has a review, Hunt's Glass Slipper is Filling with Toxic Toes. As the title suggests it's not exactly flattering about the new Tessa, Jeremy *unt either.

But Reverend Billy is coming to cleanse them. And there was some guerilla ballet in Trafalgar Square too: BP White Swan

BP White Swan from You and I Films.


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London 2012: not for fish or rabbits.

By Mike Wells

Dead fish down stream of Olympic ParkDead fish down stream of Olympic Park You gotta break some eggs to make an omelette. And apparently you gotta to do some damage for 3 weeks of sport. Which must be why, as a part of the Olympic Project, hundreds of rabbits were gassed to death, thousands of trees were cut down, and why 2.5 square kilometres of land was cleansed of small mammals and wild birds. Some people were also upset about the stray cats.

Within the Olympic zone are a large number of waterways, and now has come the chance for the fish in those waterways to pay the ultimate price.

The 5,000 volt Electric fence around the Olympic Park means it isn't the kind of place you can just turn up to check out an anonymous tip-off of fish kill.

My information was there were large numbers of dead fish which were being deliberately flushed out of the Olympic Park through a new lock. There were reports of an incredible stink from all the decomposing fish, and that the kill included top and bottom feeders, which led me to believe there may have been thousands of dead fish. I went to a place just downstream of the Olympic Park and found around thirty large dead and decomposing bream. As the fish kill had happened around a week and half previously, this fitted in with the tip-off, and had given the Olympic authorities time to flush most of the fish carcasses out of the Park...


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The Olympics, Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Podium Conference 2011: Panel at the Podium Conference Countdown to the Games February 2011.  Copyright ©2011 sytaffelPodium Conference 2011: Copyright ©2011 sytaffel


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Property companies eye Olympic profits

The Property world is getting excited by the interest supposedly being showed in the Athletes’ Village and the Media Centre. Of course, expressions of interest are not the same as money on the table. But even if the money does materialise what does this signify? That property tycoons see an opportunity to make a profit? And that profit will be made at a loss to the public purse of at least £150million on the Village and an unknown sum on the Media Centre.


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Back to the Past - OPLC wants Housing Legacy for the Middle Classes

Legacy housing to meet the desperate housing shortage facing the better off appears to be the grand design of the OPLC. Regeneration 'expert' Lady Ford considers back to basics neo-Georgian and Regency housing on a grander scale is what is needed: "London is crying out for decent-quality family housing both to rent and to buy and, given the assets here, this is destined to be a park for London families. I think this masterplan has a much sharper focus and reflects the best of London."


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London 2012: A Rubbish Olympics...

by Mike Wells

2012 Olympics contamination warning marker layer being installed

The Giant Cover-up: the Warning Marker Layer covers up to a million square meters of contaminated ground on the Olympic Site

"The Olympics is a great brand." So says David Higgins, Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority. One of the words Higgins would not like attached to his brand is – rubbish. Yet rubbish features large in relation to the London Olympics. The Main Stadium, Basketball Arena, Velodrome, and the Media Centre are all built on rubbish, or to be more exact former rubbish dumps. Most of this rubbish (with associated contamination) remains under these venues.


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Bringing Bhopal to Bow?

Dow Chemicals are to be announced as the IOC's new Global Partner?


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A bit of a stink in the River Lea

Chemical discharge into the Old River Lea: July 2009, &copy: Martin SlavinChemical discharge into the Old River Lea: July 2009, ©: Martin Slavin
On 25th of February 2010 the Hackney Gazette reported; “More than 500 people in the north-east of [London], ...including many from Hackney, [have complained]..that their water smells of faecal matter.” A week earlier it reported that one resident said, “The water smells like faecal material. If you taste it you want to spit it out.” Another complained of the water having, “an incredibly strong, acrid chemical, sour milk or sewage smell"..


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London 2012: Legacy or Liability?

By Paul Charman and Mike Wells

After spending hundreds of millions of tax payers’ money on a high profile ‘clean-up’, it has become clear that the 2012 Olympic Park actually remains classified as a contaminated brownfield site.


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