Bill and Melinda Gates, private charity and pollution

Bill Gates and Microsoft, cartoon

By Andre Damon:

The Gates Foundation and the rise of “free market” philanthropy

22 January 2007

A number of revealing details have surfaced in recent weeks concerning the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest charitable concern.

According to a report published January 7 in the Los Angeles Times, the Gates foundation invests its assets in companies whose operations induce some of the health problems it seeks to combat.

The report notes that 41 percent of the foundation’s holdings are invested in corporations whose policies “countered its charitable goals.”

It also claims that the foundation has holdings in over 60 of the highest-polluting companies in the US.

In one example mentioned in the report, a recent medical study found that half of the children attending a high school in Merebank, South Africa suffer from asthma and other respiratory disorders.

The study attributed its findings to high concentrations of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants spewed out by nearby mills and refineries operated by BP and Anglo American.

Dr. Nonyenim Solomon Enyidah, a local health commissioner, told the newspaper that the immense amounts of pollution generated by these plants weaken local residents’ immune systems and leave them vulnerable to polio and measles.

Yet the Gates Foundation, which is ostensibly in the business of combating these diseases, continues to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the companies that help to create them.

Also, there is the ideological neo-conservative pollution financed by Bill Gates’ Microsoft, including the Edmund Burke Stichting in The Netherlands

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