Unilever CEO: Clean up Unilever factory in Kodaikanal and compensate the victims
  • Petitioned Mallikarjun Kharge

This petition was delivered to:

Labour Minister
Mallikarjun Kharge
Secretary Ministry of Environment & Forests
Dr. T. Chatterjee
Unilever Customer Care
Unilever Customer Care
CEO and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever
Nitin Paranjpe

Unilever CEO: Clean up Unilever factory in Kodaikanal and compensate the victims

    1. Petition by

      Dhanyalakshmi Kodai

      delhi, India

Because 28 workers died, many are still suffering and hundreds of children have been born with physical and mental health issues.

Read the appeal of Dhanalakshmi Natarajan who lost her husband and son because of Unilever.


I'm a widow at 42. My husband died because he was working with mercury at the Pond's thermometer company (owned by Hindustan Unilever).

He didn't know that mercury was so poisonous. The owners of the Pond's factory never told him.

Over the years of working at the Pond's factory his nails started turning black. Several years later he started getting severe headaches and was later diagnosed with a heart problem. He had to undergo an operation. Even before he could recover from the operation we noticed blood in his urine. They said his kidney's had failed. He died in the hospital.

My son also complained about headaches and blurred vision. His fingernails started to turn black too. Just 8 months ago, he committed suicide.

Over the years I have seen many young workers die unnatural and early deaths. Children born to ex-workers suffer from many health problems and mental illnesses.

If I had known about the mercury I would never have allowed my husband to work there.

What kind of a company would knowingly put people in harm’s way? And why would Unilever do such a thing? It is a rich company. Its shareholders, I am told, get rich returns on their shares. For them, taking care of their ex-workers and the environment should cost nothing.

It has been 11 years now. The toxic wastes and contamination in and around the factory have not been cleaned up. Not a single affected worker has received any help from the Government or the company. I am told that there is a case in the Madras High Court for compensation. But what is the use of the money if it comes after all of us have died and gone?

Our situation is like Bhopal, where people are still waiting for environmental clean-up and rehabilitation. Perhaps, with your help and pressure, the Government of India and the Government of Tamilnadu will do their jobs. Perhaps, with your urging, the company accountable, and deliver justice to us before it is too late.


Demands of ex-workers and Kodai residents:

-- Hindustan Lever should clean up all the mercury from Kodaikanal's environment.
-- Hindustan Lever should provide for compensation to the workers who have been exposed to mercury in the factory and their families who have been contaminated by the mercury carried home from work.
-- Hindustan Lever should provide for long term medical monitoring and health remediation for all the workers and exposed residents of Kodaikanal.

Watch a video called 'Mercury in the mist' http://vimeo.com/33286845




Recent signatures


    1. Reached 2,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Partho Gupta CALCUTTA, INDIA
      • almost 2 years ago

      Employers are liable to to fore warn employees about hazardous nature of work that has been entrusted to the employee,safty measures and insurance coverage available must be incorporated in the appointment letter.

      • about 2 years ago

      I hate hubris.

    • venkateswaran sivaraman CHENNAI, INDIA
      • about 2 years ago

      to preserve nature in turn it will nurture us

    • Victoria Colewood LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 2 years ago

      Not content with using brutal tests on animals,the pollution caused by Unilever is also affecting people.

      As it owns many companies but does not seem to realise that with great corporate power even minor responsibility is needed?

      • about 2 years ago

      Large corporatons such as Unilever should uphold their corporate responsibility, not cynically exploit workers in countries where Health and Safety concerns are more easily ignored. The action of this corporation is just disgusting and they must be held accountable and redress the damage as far as it may still be possible. Apologies for the deaths and abuse of human rights should be mandatory. Compensation MUST be paid to the victims in Kodai.


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.