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

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.

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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.

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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

News:

http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2719/stories/20100924271900400.htm

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main12.asp?filename=Ne061805Mercury_rises.asp

This petition was delivered to:
  • Labour Minister
    Mallikarjun Kharge
  • Secretary Ministry of Environment & Forests
    Dr. T. Chatterjee
  • Unilever Customer Care
    Unilever Customer Care
  • Unilever
  • CEO and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever
    Nitin Paranjpe


Dhanyalakshmi Kodai started this petition with a single signature, and now has 2,165 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.