Kodaikanal is a hill station often referred to as “The Princess Of Hill Station” is located 7,000 feet above sea-level in the state of Tamil Nadu. It's a very popular hill station in Tamil Nadu with loads of people visiting every year.
In 1987 Hindustan Unilever took over the thermometer factory from Pond's limited. By 2001 workers started to complain about kidney and related problems. Unilever was found to be dumping mercury in the interior parts of Shola forests. The dumped mercury seeped into the soil of the forest thus leading destruction of the evergreen forest and deteriorating health of locals. The Company used to import mercury from United States and export made thermometers back to the US and various parts of Europe. The imported mercury was left unattended thus leading to high toxicity levels in the area around the factory and forests. Several people started suffering from serious health related issues such as cancer, high toxic levels in body, deformation of newly born children, etc. Unilever claimed that it did not throw any mercury containing glasses in the forests and that it just disposed off 5.3 metric ton of glass at the backyard of the company.
The company lost its trial and was forced to shut down the factory. Greenpeace campaigner AmerShahul led the public affair groups and workers collaboration to force the Company to collect 290 tonnes of mercury from Shola forest and send it back to United States to recycle.
After 12 years of the tragedy there are still tonnes of mercury in the soil of Kodaikanal. Unilever has made no amends to people suffering from diseases due to the tragedy and has still not restored the place.We as the responsible citizens should try and help Kodaikana out of the misery and help restore its greenery.