The ‘Dark Waters’ US lawyer who took on chemical giant DuPont is speaking at Surrey's new Big Green Festival this week. As portrayed in the 2019 film where he is played by Mark Ruffalo, Rob Bilott started out as a lawyer defending chemical companies.
But he ended up described by the New York Times as "the lawyer who became DuPont's worst nightmare", after exposing the corporation for a decades-long history of chemical pollution.
He is joined on a Global water crisis panel on Saturday by Kye Gbangbola, who lost his seven-year-old son Zane and suffered paralysis caused by hydrogen cyanide after his Chertsey home was flooded in 2014.
Also speaking is BBC investigative journalist Leana Hosea, who directed the award-winning film Thirst for Justice.
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To: Justice Secretary Robert Buckland & Prime Minister Boris Johnson
CALL FOR AN INVESTIGATION AND INDEPENDENT PANEL INQUIRY INTO THE DEATH OF 7 YEAR OLD ZANE
Potential Risk Arising From Toxic Gas In Landfills
We are calling for a truthful public debate and investigation into the tragic death of 7 year old Zane Gbangbola, who died when hydrogen cyanide was found in his home as floodwater rose beneath.
Why is this important?
Zane died in his home on 8 February 2014, a day after his home in Chertsey was hit by severe floods. His parents Nicole and Kye were hospitalised in a critical condition.
Evidence suggests the cause of Zane’s death was hydrogen cyanide, a toxic gas that can lurk in unregulated landfill - like the one by their house - released from the ground by mixing with floodwater. But it took Public Health England 14 weeks to confirm to the family that hydrogen cyanide was indeed found in their flooded house. And despite this the pathologist was never told to test Zane’s blood for hydrogen cyanide.
Nicole and Kye are bereaved parents who deserve to know what really happened to their son. They have been left ‘broken’ by the death of their son and frustrated by the lack of answers.
Zane's father Kye, who was left paralysed from the same incident and whose diagnosis is paraplegia due to Hydrogen Cyanide poisoning, says:
“We really want to push and find answers because it is wrong that these risks can occur. Ideally this is something we would like to be able to highlight nationally. This deadly gas has come from somewhere, the authorities need to admit its presence, investigate its source and act to prevent more deaths and illness.
We miss Zane every second of the day and all those who spent time with Zane commented that Zane was a truly remarkable boy. We would not want anyone else to experience this pain and burden of a living hell”.