Nearly 1,000 people have hit the streets in Kodaikanal demanding world-class cleanup of mercury contamination, health interventions and compensation for workers from Unilever.
Members of 16 organisations that are part of the Tamil Nadu Alliance Against mercury have taken out this protest march from Moonjikal — the site of the scrapyard where Unilever’s illegal mercury waste was found — to the office of the Kodaikanal Municipal Corporation pressing people’s demand for a Council Resolution for thorough clean-up.
Kodaikanal is the place where Unilever dumped it toxic waste and people of that region are suffering from it. Though the fight was for the people and their rights, the victims didn’t get any help from the local as well as traditional media. Unilever is insisting on leaving up to 20- 25 milligrams/kg of mercury in soil – 200 to 250 times higher than naturally occurring background levels, and 20-25 times higher than permissible residential levels in the United Kingdom — even after clean-up. This is 20 times weaker than what would be allowed in the United Kingdom where Unilever is headquartered.