Unilever Racist Fever Concert & Music Launch
பாதரச மாசை சுத்தப்படுத்துவதில் இருக்கும் இரட்டை வேடத்தை கோடிட்டு காட்டும் இசை காணொளி.
Music Video Spotlights Unilever’s Double Standards in Mercury Cleanup
29 June, 2018. CHENNAI — Artists and social activists in Chennai and Kodaikanal today released
“Kodaikanal Still Won’t” — a music video that brands the Anglodutch multinational Unilever’s
double standards in cleaning up its mercury contaminated factory site in Kodaikanal as a case of
environmental racism. The video featuring rapper Sofia Ashraf of the viral Kodaikanal Won’t fame,
also has eminent Carnatic vocalist T.M. Krishna and Indie rock musician Amrit Rao belting out a
catchy number fusing Carnatic, rap and Tamil Gaana Kuthu genres. The video was shot in
Kodaikanal and directed by Rathindran R. Prasad (Kodaikanal Won’t and Chennai Poromboke
Paadal), with Shreyaas Krishna as Director of Photography. Video will go live at 6.15 p.m. at http://
The video is meant to be a vehicle for gathering signatures in a petition hosted by Jhatkaa.org
targeting Unilever CEO Paul Polman. Jhatkaa has also announced a “Missed Call” campaign that
allows people to sign the petition by giving a missed call to +917338730702. Petition is at: http://
The relaunch of the campaign was triggered by Unilever’s failed trial remediation in November
2017 that ended up mobilising more mercury into the environment than it recovered. The
company’s proposed clean-up will leave behind 20 times more mercury in Kodaikanal’s soil than is
considered safe for residential areas in the United Kingdom, and 66 times more than levels
considered safe for soil, plant and animal life in the Netherlands.
“Such a shoddy clean-up will never be permitted in Europe. Unilever’s refusal to apply the best
standards for India reeks of environmental racism,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, a Chennai-based
social activist who has been part of the campaign to hold Unilever accountable since 2000.
“Despite the failed remediation trials, Unilever has managed to get a go-ahead for a full scale
clean-up. If that happens, it will be nothing short of a major environmental disaster that will poison
the watershed forests of the Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary,” he added.
Sofia Ashraf, T.M. Krishna and film-maker Rathindran said they will travel to the Netherlands and
United Kingdom later this year, and collaborate with local artists to generate solidarity among
Dutch and British citizens against Unilever’s double standards. “Unilever talks up a big talk about
caring for the environment. Mr. Polman was declared Champion of the Earth by the UN in 2015.
They should walk their talk,” said Krishna.
“Environmental racism” is when environmental harm is disproportionately apportioned to
marginalised communities, and when the agencies or parties discriminate by deploying
environmentally substandard practices when operating among such communities. The video was
launched by Prof. Fatima Babu, a long-standing activist leading the struggle against the pollution
from UK-based Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper smelter in Thoothukudi.
In 1983, Chesebrough Pond’s – Unilever’s predecessor – shut down its polluting mercury
thermometer factory in Watertown, New York, in response to local environmental concerns and
moved the factory to an ecologically sensitive location amidst the Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary.
In 2001, Unilever’s mercury thermometer factory was shut down for dumping broken
thermometers laced with mercury in a scrapyard in Kodaikanal. It later came to light that workers
had suffered health effects and that more than 1.2 tonnes of mercury had been discharged into
the forest. It took 15 years of campaigning and Ashraf’s viral rap song to force Unilever to settle
with its workers.
For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman – 9444082401; Archanaa Seker:
| Chennai Solidarity Group | Jhatkaa | The Other Media | Tamil Nadu Alliance Against Mercury |