Environment Minister Anil Dave: Ensure a world-class cleanup for Kodaikanal

*UPDATE* – Over the past week we’ve sent nearly 14,000 emails to India’s Environment Ministry demanding a thorough cleanup of Unilever’s mercury mess in Kodaikanal. Help keep the momentum going and let’s send a strong message to Environment Minister Anil Dave.

Unilever must not be allowed to get away with a lax cleanup that keeps a lot of toxic mercury in the soil, where it will continue to poison plants, water, fish, and people.

Use the email tool below to email Environment Minister Anil Dave directly.

Unilever’s mercury thermometer factory has been contaminating Kodaikanal, India for the past 15 years. In March of 2016, the company gave just compensation to its ex-workers, many of whom had been devastated by mercury poisoning.

Now the residents of Kodaikanal want Unilever to clean up its mercury mess to high, scientific standards. Instead, the company has currently proposed standards that are TWENTY times weaker than what would be allowed in the United Kingdom, where Unilever is headquartered (1).

This is plainly a double standard. India and the town of Kodaikanal deserve better.

Unilever will do a thorough cleanup of its mercury contamination if the government makes them. Email new Environment Minister Anil Dave today, and ask him to ensure a world-class cleanup in Kodaikanal.

Let’s take a moment to recall the history of this campaign:

Hindustan Unilever (HUL) owns a mercury thermometer factory in South India which it was forced to shut down in 2001. It came out that many of HUL’s workers had been exposed to toxic mercury, weren’t provided with adequate protective gear, and that 30 ex-workers and 15 children have died. Mercury is very toxic to babies and young children and is known to cause deformities.

While this reality remained, HUL did nothing to compensate workers or give them justice for 14 long years. But then last year we launched a viral music video and online petition that changed the entire landscape. We got Unilever to stand up and take notice; and Unilever CEO Paul Polman responded promising quick resolution. And this year, 591 ex-workers signed agreements with HUL guaranteeing them fair compensation.

This victory was made possible because of people like you! People who heard about this campaign either online or on the news; and then made the decision to add your voice to the growing chorus calling for justice.

So please join us in emailing new Environment Minister Anil Dave. Ask him to stand up for safe standards NOT double standards.


1) Soil Guidelines values for mercury in soil